New eco-friendly, ‘zero-waste’ carpet recycling used at Las Vegas conventions
What you may have walked on may become something you sit on, thanks to a carpet-recycling innovation used at the recently concluded MAGIC trade show at the Las Vegas Convention Center, as well as other industry shows in town.
Alma USA is introducing Eco-Concept to Las Vegas this year, in which 100 percent recyclable polypropylene carpet is put down for a trade show. After the show, the carpet is lifted and fed into Eco-Concept’s mobile trailer-housed machine onsite, which shreds and compacts it.
It takes 12 to 15 minutes to turn 600 square yards of carpet into a tightly compacted bale weighing 550 pounds. The easily loaded bales are then sold to recyclers, who melt the shreds into pellets, which are then sold to companies that produce chairs, tables, garbage cans — any of a wide variety of products made from polypropylene.
The almost 90,000 square yards of Alma USA carpet at MAGIC, took three to four days to shred — using a two-to-four-person crew working 12-hour days. The process averts having to place unwieldy, different-size pieces of carpet into bins and trucks destined to be driven to landfills. Nothing lands in a landfill in this “zero-waste concept.”
Helping the environment was the chief motivation for the invention, says Alessio Montini, Alma USA sales and operations director, adding that it’s a way to “minimize transportation with less trucks and less pollution.” Site cleanup time, hours of labor and disposal-hauling costs are sharply reduced.
Among the other Las Vegas Convention Center trade shows after which the Eco-Concept machines shredded the carpet for recycling: the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, the International Beauty Show in June and MAGIC in February. Additional shows this year using the machines: Curve Las Vegas and International Sign Expo at Mandalay Bay; Arbonne GTC at MGM Grand; JCK at Sands and Venetian; SHOT Show and Vision Expo West at Sands; and the PGA Fashion & Demo Experience at the Venetian.
Fabrizio Bartolozzi, president of Alma USA and Eco-Concept, invented and produced the machine in Italy. The company is working to develop a second, faster machine, which will have a metal detector to ensure nothing interferes with the blades. The machine will cut the time needed to make a 550-pound bale to five minutes, Montini said.
The goal is to have a machine stationed on the West Coast and one on the East Coast for trade shows using Alma USA carpets, and eventually to have one machine at every major trade show location in the U.S.
According to the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA), carpets make up more than four billion pounds of waste in American landfills, which is 3.5 percent of all landfill waste in the entire country.
European nations have historically been ahead of the U.S. when it comes to implementing recycling concepts, and Eco-Concept helps trade shows become more environmentally responsible, Montini says.
“In the U.S., recycling is not a must,” Montini adds. “In Europe, it’s a must!”
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