Kasey “Kruse” Wakefield: IRC Recycling Rock Star
Updated: Sep 15, 2021
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Kasey “Kruse” Wakefield is a determined and innovative entrepreneur. In 2005, she became the President of Kruse Carpet Recycling, her family-run business that has diverted 100 million pounds of carpet from landfills or incineration. The company’s collection center hauls in carpeting from all realms of life, such as individual houses, carpet sellers, and large-scale demolition projects.
Carpet is a non-biodegradable product due to its vastly varying materials such as nylon, limestone, wool, and plastics. This also makes it difficult to process. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, nearly 5 billion pounds of carpet are packed into landfills every year. That weighs seven times more than the Empire State Building! But while many might see this as a daunting number, Wakefield sees it as 5 billion pounds of opportunity.
Unfortunately, not all carpet by-products are recyclable, but that hasn’t stopped Wakefield. Her company is proud of its Kruse Cushion Ride, which retrieves some otherwise unrecyclable elements out of carpet and mixes them with sand. This concoction creates horse footings – perfect for the floor of show arenas and stables. Squeezing one more upcycled use of an otherwise dead-end component of carpet certainly shows Wakefield’s innovation and determination.
Wakefield carries this passion into her daily work because she wants to ensure our planet is in better shape for her children than the one she inherited. She believes our environment is at a crucial turning point; we must recognize our resource management as a critical social issue, not a political one.
Wakefield often speaks at conferences to educate contractors, carpet manufacturers and sales teams about how carpet can and can’t be recycled. This allows sellers to convey accurate information to those shopping for carpets. Her company also helps people identify if their carpet is recyclable by testing small samples for fiber tests.
She has found several interesting recycling practices for carpets. Even plastic soda bottles are repurposed into some residential and commercial carpets. Then when a carpet’s life is over, its nylon fibers find another life in car parts, drainage devices, and other plastic parts.
Wakefield wants to inspire curiosity in sellers and buyers of carpet. Buyers can always ask questions and research products to find recyclable carpeting. Sellers and installers can join her cause by rerouting old carpet to Kruse Carpet Recycling.
Written by David Johnson