NFTrecently spoke with Georgina Sikorski, executive director of Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), about California AB 2398. The bill that was signed into law last October states that from July 1, 2011, to Jan. 1, 2013, manufacturers will be assessed five cents a square yard on all carpet sold and shipped to California. The assessment will be remitted on a quarterly basis to Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) or retained according to an approved stewardship plan.

What is the status of implementation of California AB 2398?

As of July 1, 2011, all invoices must include the stewardship assessment fee, and it must be identified as such on the invoice. If retailers have any questions about the fee and how to include it on their invoices, they should contact CAREorCalRecycle.

Does California Proposition 26 have any effect on the implementation of AB 2398?

Prop. 26 was put into law on or around the same time as AB 2398. It states that any fees that are being passed onto consumers must be agreed upon by two-thirds of the state legislature. Right now we are still in the process of getting legal clarification of whether the AB 2398 bill will be exempt. We do not have a final and formal legal comment yet, but the guidance we have been given is that AB 2398 is the law and we should proceed with implementation as though it will be enacted.

What do retailers in California need to do, now, to be in compliance?

On March 22, at 2 p.m. EST/11 a.m. PST, we will be holding a webinar for retailers. They can go to the CARE website andregister. It’s free of charge and the purpose is to inform retailers about their requirements and what they need to do. There is penalty for non-compliance, of which they need to be aware of and prepared for. The penalty for non-compliance is $1,000 a day. If they are shown to be negligent, the penalty can get as high as $10,000 per day. Enforcement will be through CalRecycle’s enforcement department.

[CalRecycle will also be holding a workshop about the new legislation, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. PST, Feb. 22, at the Cal/EPA Building in Sacramento.]

How do you feel AB 2398 is beneficial to the industry?

We think the California AB 2398 is going to be helpful for a number of reasons. It’s going to raise awareness among consumers that carpet can be recycled at the end of its useful life. It is also helpful to small entrepreneurs who are involved with the carpet recycling process itself.

This is not a price increase per se. The funds will be used to meet the goals of AB 2398: To increase the diversion of carpet from the landfill, increase the recycling of post-consumer carpet, increase the recyclability of carpet, and incentivize the growth of products that are made from recycled carpet.