Carpet Disposal Guide
When you have a new carpet fitted, you’ll normally have to dispose of an old one. In addition to the old carpet itself, you are likely to have old underlay and gripper rods to dispose of, plus potentially offcuts and packaging from the new carpet. There are a range of ways to dispose of these materials, these include donation and reuse, collection by the retailer who sold you your new carpet, removal by a fitter, paying for a council bulky waste collection, taking it to the dump, hiring a skip or using a man & van waste contractor to take it away. This simple how-to guide to carpet disposal is designed to help you decide which option is best for you.
- Retailers – ask your retailer if they’ll dispose of it for you
- Carpet fitters – ask your carpet fitter if they will dispose of your carpet
- Reuse – can I reuse my old carpet?
- Council dump – can I take it to the tip?
- Councils – will the council accept carpet in their bulky waste collection service?
- Skip hire
- Man & Van clearance
- Pulling up your carpet – DIY, carpet fitters or waste contractors
- Where does carpet go if it’s not reused?
- Landfill – why carpets don’t belong in landfill
For most people, the easiest way to dispose of your old carpet is for it to be removed by the retailer that sold you your new one. Most carpet retailers offer some sort of service but rates and what’s available vary considerably. Some retailers for example, will only take away the offcuts and packaging from the new carpet but refuse the old stuff. Most only offer the service to actual customers. Be sure to clarify whether the service includes uplifting the old one or just collection and disposal. Below is a table showing the costs charged per square metre by three of the UK’s major carpet retailers:
Carpet Disposal Cost of UK Retailers (Sept 2019)
Cost per sq metre
£1.00 (uplift only)
£14.95 (uplift + disposal for all of it)
£3.74 (uplift + disposal)
If the retailer you bought your carpet from doesn’t offer a disposal service, often your fitter will get rid of your old carpet for an additional fee. Check they have a waste carrier’s license though, as it’s illegal for them to take it away without being properly licensed by the Environment Agency.
In terms of cost, according to Job Prices (last updated 2019), you should expect your carpet fitter to charge a disposal fee of between 50p to £1 per square metre of carpet and underlay. Equally, Smoove Move suggest fitters charge around £15-20 to dispose of all your old carpet. So it really just depends on the fitter whether they’ll charge per square meter or for the whole lot. Disposal is quite often included in the price of the uplift (same with retailers) so check with your fitter exactly what the fee covers.
If your fitter doesn’t offer the service, it might be worth contacting another local fitter to see if they will. You can find local fitters on the National Institute of Carpet and Floor Layer’s website.
- Reuse – how can old carpet be reused in my home (vs how can it be reused by other people and how do I get it to those people)?
You could use your carpet again for gardening, mats, animal bedding, offcuts or you could give it away to someone else. However, new offcuts are far more likely to be reusable because old carpets can sometimes be a bit smelly and generally not nice. Also, the odds of someone wanting to buy/take an old dirty carpet off your hands are quite slim.
Websites such as Freecycle or charity shops are great for giving your carpet away for free. People also sell their carpets if they’re in good condition on websites like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Gumtree. The buyers normally travel to your house for collection so only consider this option if you wouldn’t mind a stranger in your home and prepare yourself that they may not be interested when they see the carpet in person.
You can also reuse carpet in your garden and it doesn’t have to be in good condition to be used for this purpose. You can use it to keep paths weed free – if you place carpet upside down and cover it with bark mulch, weeds stop growing. You can also do the same around vegetable patches. If you aren’t a green thumb, you might want to ask local groups if they’d like to put your old carpet to use and you can find local groups online here.
There’s potential to use carpet again in your home if it’s in good condition. You can turn it into a mat – just cut the carpet into the right shape and you can use them as door mats or runners. You could even use a carpet whipping service to give it a more professional look with edging. On Battersea Dogs’s website, it says they’re always looking for cat scratching posts and carpet squares for the cats and dogs. To create your own scratching post, all you have told do is staple or glue some carpet to a post.
If you have carpet tiles, there are companies that recycle tiles in particular, such as Carpet Tiles Recycling.
If you have offcuts, you could cut them into small squares to put underneath the feet of furniture to save any damage to new flooring. Or, if they’re offcuts from a new carpet in your house, you could deliberately stain them to test what works when getting rid of tough stains.
If you are householder, disposing of carpet at your local recycling centre is definitely the cheapest option as most tips are completely free. The only downsides (assuming you have a vehicle) are that you may have to do more than one trip and it can create a load carpet fluff mess inside your car. Additionally, if you live in a rural area, the closest tip to you might be quite far away so it might be easier to just pay someone else to dump it for you.
Recycling.co.uk’s website says that most recycling centres don’t accept carpets, however our own research of council/tip websites suggests this is not the case. We recommend double checking with your own just in case though.
Note unlike householders, businesses must either pay to use the council tip or are prohibited from using them at all.
An option only available to householders as businesses can’t use council bulky waste services. Some councils do and some councils don’t accept carpet in their bulky waste collection service. For example, Lambeth council’s bulky waste collection for residents includes carpet. Contact your local council to see what they offer. Charges vary by council but are normally cheaper than using a private waste contractor.
Provided you have enough carpet to fill it, hiring a skip is one way of disposing of your old flooring materials. Prices vary according to skip size and postcode, and whether the skip is located on or off the road. For more information on skip hire, check out our skip hire guide.
Often a cheaper and easier alternative to hiring a skip is using a man & van waste contractor to remove your old carpet. Unlike skip hire you don’t need to guess the correct size in advance (man & van contractors can adjust the price on site) and they can collect from anywhere on the premises – which is particularly handy if you are at a property that doesn’t have space for a skip, for example in a flat. For more information on man and van rubbish clearance, check our rubbish clearance guide here.
Before you can dispose of your carpet, you’ll need to lift it up from the floor.
It’s relatively straightforward to remove carpet yourself. You just need a few tools (utility knife, pliers, crowbar, and gloves). You’ll need to pull the carpet up, cutting it into strip sections as you go and rolling and duct taping the carpet so that it’s easy to carry out of the room. Use the same method when removing the underlay. And finally, with gripper rods, slide the crowbar underneath to lift them up.
Alternatively, if you don’t fancy getting your hands dirty, there is always the option to pay a professional to do it instead. Ask your carpet fitter if they’d be able to uplift your old carpet – they’re normally happy to do this for an additional fee and they might even include carpet disposal into the price. Or you can ask your waste contractor – who will often uplift your carpet for you for an additional fee.
If carpet isn’t reused then it is either recycled or taken to landfill. That said, recycling old carpet is tricky because the backing is hard to separate from the carpet pile. Additionally, it’s difficult to recycle textiles like wool and nylon which are used in carpets. It’s much easier to recycle carpet padding as it’s made from foam, so many more recycling centres are willing to accept it. Carpet Recycling UK is a non-profit association focussed on reducing the amount of carpet being sent to landfill. You can find loads more information and advice on recycling carpet on their website.
Carpets contain complex fibres that can’t be broken down in landfill because their process of biodegrading is really slow and creates methane. You can read more about the problem of carpets in landfill here. Also, here is a good video worth a watch explaining it in more detail.