Posts tagged "carpet"

How can I reuse or recycle carpet underlay?

Not ones to rush, we’re finally getting some carpet fitted in the room we started renovating when we first bought this house last September.

Now this might be carpet sales person nonsense but all the guides we’ve read about choosing a carpet say that the carpet will last a lot longer and wear better if you replace the underlay at the same time. The underlay in the room in question is a very good make apparently but judging by the carpet, has been there for at least 20 years. The old carpet is clearly worn along certain paths and we’re guessing even though it’s harder to see it, the underlay is similarly worn – so we’ve listened to the advice and are replacing it.

Now of course that means we know have both carpet and carpet underlay to get rid of – doubling the amount of stuff to reuse or recycle.

We’ve already covered old carpet in the past and I will certainly keep some of the carpet for those reuses – insulating the floor of our greenhouse for one, and I think some of the carpet might be suitable for making into doormats etc. But what can I do with the underlay?

This is a lot thicker and floppier than the stuff used under wooden or laminate floors. I’m tempted to say it’s foam rubber but I’m not sure it is, and I can’t find out any more about it online, other than it uses “advanced polymers”.

Any suggestions? And any advice on whether the “you have to get new underlay” thing is true or bunk?

(Photo by Haxxah and KraZug)

How can I reuse or recycle carpet/flooring samples?

We’ve had an email from Katy:

I work in a carpet store and we regularly get rid of big books of carpet and lino samples.My floor manager just throws them in the bin skip. Can they be recycled?

A lot of our reuses for carpet need it to be in large pieces, not just foot-square samples but some of the reuses for vinyl flooring/lino would work with smaller pieces – mats for under pet food bowls, wipe-clean cupboard/shelf lining or a patchwork of bright colours in a children’s play area/a semi-portable playmat.

Both can be recycled apparently too.

Any other suggestions?

What can I reuse or recycle to help get around in snowy weather?

Like yesterday’s mince pie case post, this one is also a little late in the season – but it’s only recently that I’ve started hearing about this stuff and apparently we’re getting some more snow this week anyway.

Here in West Yorkshire, we had the white stuff on the ground for nearly four weeks before it finally melted away at the weekend. I realise that’s nothing compared to many places around the world but for here, it’s remarkable. I think the longest I’ve ever seen snow stick around before was about four days and because of that, no one is prepared for snow here – we just take the opportunity to stay at home, eat Christmas leftovers and complain about the weather (which, to be fair, we do whatever the weather). Only one person on our street has a snow shovel and the council only gritted/cleared main roads so navigating through our side streets was slippery fun. No one has snow tyres/chains and also at least half the people we encountered don’t know how to drive in snow – they seemingly thought throwing as much power as they could at their spinning wheels would eventually solve the problem.

Because of our unpreparedness, people have been improvising. Rubber footwell mats are quite commonly used to provide emergency traction when wheels get stuck – and I’ve heard of other people keeping old carpet in their car to do the same thing. A friend of a friend heard you can use cat litter as a grit substitute but discovered that their type of cat litter just turned to a white paste and got trudged all through the house – so that’s not advised. Does the wood-based stuff work better though – or as an extension of that, sawdust?

What have you been reusing and recycling to make getting around a little easier during the snowy weather? What works? What doesn’t? What about for other forms of transport such as bikes or even just walking? Anything to help improve grip?

How can I soundproof a room reusing and recycling stuff?

drums1We’ve had an email from Trish:

My son has recently bought a drum set and we desperately need to sound-proof a room where he can practice. How can we do this using recycled materials?

The old cliché is egg boxes – does that really work though? Waffle foam packaging would probably be slightly better but possibly difficult to source in large enough quantities. I guess egg boxes might be too since the people who tend to have open trays of them – egg sellers or small grocers – tend to reuse them for their original purpose. If egg boxes work, would shaped foam sheets used for packaging round fruit be an alternative?

My boyfriend John, who is a drummer too (although one that doesn’t care too much for soundproofing), has suggested carpet as something good at muffling and easy to source in large pieces. He also suggested cork tiles – the air in the cork structure aids sound deadening apparently.

Another thing I’d add although it’s not really a reuse/recycle thing is, if possible, try placing the drum kit in different parts of the room/house. Some sounds – footsteps, creaking floorboards, John jiggling his legs – really travel around our house but only from/to certain spots. I suspect it’s a joists/floor board thing but don’t know any more than just suggesting trial and error – anyone know why it’s like that?

Any other suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle an old bath mat?

bathmatWe’ve had an email from Adele:

What can I do with some old bath mats? I have two in pale blue which I don’t want to use in the bathroom any more because they’re discoloured but I can’t bleach them because they’re blue. Any ideas?

If it’s just a case of things being discoloured, depending what they’re made of, you might be able to dye them a darker colour to hide the murk. I can’t say I’ve looked that closely but I’m pretty sure most mats I’ve seen are, like towels, 100% cotton to cope with super-hot cleaning – and pure cotton is usually reasonably easy to dye. Maybe take them to a mid or dark blue instead?

Aside from that and depending on the thickness, you might be able to use them for the same things as old towels. If they’re flat mats, like heavy towels, they would work well as soles on towel slippers; conversely, the big loopy kind would be fun as uppers on the same slippers. You could use the non-discoloured parts of the mat for the visible bits, and the discoloured parts for the hidden sections.

Any other suggestions?

(Stock photo by konr4d)