Manufacturers will soon be required to take responsibility for the end-of-life management of carpets sold in New York according to legislation signed by Governor Kathy Hochul.
The legislation, championed by New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh and Assembly Member Steve Englebright, requires carpet and rug manufacturers to establish a convenient program for collecting and recycling discarded carpeting. New York is only the second state to enact such legislation, following California’s adoption of a carpet recycling program requirement in 2010.
According to the new law, known as A09279A or S05027-C and taking effect January 2026, New York will prohibit carpet sales from producers that do not participate in an approved industry-wide plan for recycling or establish their own program, approved by the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Carpet and rug waste accounted for 2,460 thousand tons of landfill waste in the United States according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). And 73 percent of carpets were landfilled while only 9.2 percent was recycled. In New York, carpeting currently fills landfills at the rate of 515 million pounds per year. The state’s carpet recycling rate is 1 percent, and local governments and businesses spend in excess of $22 million annually to dispose of it.
The New York law also establishes carpet recycling performance goals, with the first goal for 30 percent carpet recycling in five years, with at least 10 percent of the recovered materials being used as recycled content for new carpets. The final goal calls for 75 percent carpet reduction by the 15-year mark, with at least 40 percent of recovered materials being used as recycled content for new carpets.
The new legislation also bans per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—known as PFAS—from carpeting sold in New York starting in January 2025. PFAS are commonly referred to as “forever chemicals” since it takes them so long to break down, if at all. Of the thousands of PFAS chemicals in existence, some have been linked to harmful health effects in people and animals. PFAS chemicals can leech into the soil and water during production, and according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), PFAS are found in the blood of people and animals all over the world and are present at low levels in a variety of food products.
“This is an impressive environmental victory prompting much more carpet recycling and requiring that carpet producers take financial responsibility for their product,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator and president of Beyond Plastics.
States are stepping up to make home textile producers take responsibility for their products’ end of life. Massachusetts recently banned textiles such as curtains, sheets and towels, as well as clothing and other fabrics and mattresses from disposal or transport for disposal.