Recycled polyester from plastic soda and water bottles is used to make carpet.
A Georgia company has found a way to turn garbage into a useful household product. One carpet manufacturer is turning plastic soda bottles into plush, cut-pile carpeting via an environmentally friendly process used in only a handful of plants.

Mohawk Industries, Summerville, GA, uses a conveyor-type bed dryer from National Drying Machinery Co., Philadelphia, in its plastic soda bottles-to-carpeting process. According to Mohawk project engineer Derek Parker, the plant receives PET bottles in huge bales from recycling centers and companies than gather and deliver the bottles.

Once sorted by color, the bottles are ground, washed and extruded into fabric, and the fabric is crimped to provide texture. The National dryer is used to heat set the just-crimped fabric so it will retain the texture. The end product then is sent to other Mohawk facilities, where it is spun into yarn, tufted, dyed and finished.

This is the second National dryer Mohawk has installed. The dryer is 75' long with an 8' wide bed and is capable of processing 6,000 to 8,000 lb/hr of fabric.

Parker noted that Mohawk uses polyester because it imparts strength, durability and stain resistance in residential carpeting. Soda bottles are used instead of virgin polyester pellets because they are less expensive, equally effective and kind to the environment.