Rugs can be a big investment and will usually last you a long time. But inevitably, there will come a point when you find yourself asking how do I get rid of an old rug? To help the environment there are some alternatives to disposing which you could consider first. Rugs are often made of strong durable fibres which can be put to other purposes. So upcycling your old rug into something new could be a great option. However if it is past the point of no return, it's important to dispose of a rug sustainably.
What can you do with old rugs?
Always try to consider ways to reuse your old rug before disposing of it. There are so many things old rugs can be turned into or used for, other than their original purpose. Alternatively, if the rug is still in good condition you could give it a new home.
Here is a list of what you can do with an old rug:
- Sell it
- Give it to charity
- Offer to someone you know
- Hang up as wall art or tapestry
- Make cushion covers
- Cut up to make smaller mats
- Use as an outdoor rug
- Paint and use as children's play mat
- Make into a tote bag
- Use it for animal / pet bedding or insulation
How to upcycle a rug
There are loads of fun and useful ways to upcycle an old rug. Rugs come in all shapes, sizes and materials, so there is always something it can be reused for. Just give your rug a good clean and you are good to go.
Small thinner rugs can make great cushion covers, be used to reupholster furniture or be made into a tote bag. Below you can find a short video showing you just how easy it can be to turn a rug into a pillow.
If your rug is losing its colour, why not paint it? Use stencils or tap to mark out a pattern and get painting. This is also a great way to turn your old rug into a children's play mat. Use bright shapes and colours. Or draw on something like a road, snakes and ladders or a chess board.
Pets can also make great use of your old rug. Put it in a cage as lining or bedding. This will give them comfort and insulation. Cats also LOVE rugs; to lie on or scratch. If you don't have a pet you could donate it to an animal shelter to make good use of.
Using old rugs outdoors and for gardening is another great option. Larger thinker rugs that are made of more durable fabrics would be perfect to use outside or decking to make a cosy living area. Rugs can also be used in gardening for protecting areas from weeds or insulating a compost heap.
Donating a rug to charity
If you rug is still in good condition, charities will be happy to take it off your hands. Depending on the charity, they may either sell it on and use the proceeds or give it to someone in need. Check with the charity you would like to donate to as they may offer a collection service. This is a great way to give your old rug a new lease of life and help others in the process.
Recycling your old rug
It is not always obvious that rugs can be recycled. Often people will just throw them in the trash, ending up in landfill. But there are plenty of ways to recycle an old rug.
Check with you local authority. They may offer a collection service or will be able to advise you on a local recycling facility near you that will accept rugs.
In America there is an organisation called Carpet America Recovery Effort or CARE for short. They will collect old carpets and rugs to be recycled Carpetrecovery
There is also a similar organisation across the pond call Carpet Recycling UK. Whose aim is to reduce carpet waste across the UK via recycling.
Ultimately, if you are looking to dispose of a rug there are a multitude of things you can do. Try to always choose an option that involves reusing or recycling. Either reuse it yourself by upcycling; or give it a new home via selling or donating. But if your rug is past it, recycle it through a reputable organisation or your local facility.