Differential assessments will be charged on all carpet sold in California starting April 1, 2022, in accordance with new legislation (California AB 729). The law requires CARE, as the carpet stewardship organization for the state, to implement a differential assessment on each square yard of carpet sold that reflects its cost burden to recycle.

CARE’s proposed differential assessment plan, which CalRecycle has conditionally approved, is based on two factors: carpet materials, as in broadloom vs. tile, and percent of post-consumer (PC) content, as in greater than or equal to 10 percent post-consumer content, and less than 10 percent post-consumer content. The new assessments (see below) replace the current assessment of 35 cents per square yard for all carpet types.

Broadloom vs. tile. All broadloom carpet (residential and commercial) will retain the 35 cents per square yard assessment and all tile carpet – also known as carpet squares – (residential and commercial) will be assessed at 50 cents per square yard.

Post-Consumer Content. The assessment is reduced by 2 cents/square yard for any product, broadloom or tile, that has 10 percent or more PC content. 

The assessment is higher for carpet tile because the cost to recycle carpet tile is much higher than broadloom, due to the processes required, along with the transportation costs to tile recycling facilities located in the eastern U.S.. CARE estimates that less than five percent of carpet tile in California is currently being recycled or reused.

Carpet retailers in the state are advised to begin planning immediately for the point of purchase changes that will be needed to correctly assign the assessments and collect the assessment from customers. Carpet mills will be responsible for advising retailers on which products qualify in terms of post-consumer content. CARE will supply point of purchase material as well as training support materials for sales staff. Retailers are encouraged to visit the CARE website for the latest developments.

“This assessment change undoubtedly is a burden for the approximately 2,000 California retailers and 79 carpet mills with operations in the state,” noted CARE Executive Director Bob Peoples. “CARE is working with retailers, mills, distributors and software companies to clarify and ease the transition. The good news is that the assessment is not increasing for broadloom carpet and will even go down slightly for broadloom containing more than 10 percent post-consumer content.”

The California carpet stewardship legislation (AB 2398, 1159 and 729) is designed to find ways to incentivize the growth of carpet reclamation and recycling and still allow the market to work. The law (AB 2398) generates funding to meet its stated goals through the assessment on all carpet sold in California. California consumers pay the assessment when they buy carpet. Those monies then support CARE’s efforts, including subsidies paid to recyclers, grants to expand capacity and collection, technical assistance and outreach, to increase carpet recycling in California.

CARE will establish a process and schedule to reevaluate the amounts and factors for differential assessment as part of its next 5-Year Plan.

CARE serves as the Carpet Stewardship Organization for the State of California, which has collected over one billion pounds of carpet in the state since the California Carpet Stewardship Program began in 2011. CARE members include independent carpet recyclers, carpet manufacturers, dealers, retailers and suppliers, and non-governmental organizations.

For more information, CarpetRecovery.org.