As mentioned in the previous article, carpet has come back in as a design focal point. With all this new carpeting being installed, where are all the old flooring materials going? Ten years ago the answer would be “the landfill,” but with new manufacturing and recycling technologies, those days are history. Now you can live with all the benefits of carpeting without any of the new carpet drawbacks.
If you want to make sure your carpet is eco-friendly be sure to ask these questions:
- What is the carpet made from?
- Does it contain any toxic chemicals or volatile organic compounds?
- Was it responsibly manufactured?
- Is it recyclable?
Eco-friendly carpets are manufactured with low emissions and use fibers made with either renewable or natural materials that are pesticide free. Material like sisal, organic cotton, and coir are all eco-friendly. However, the material trending more than others is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or recycled plastic bottles. Carpets made from this material can be found under names Resistron and Permalon, and are produced by brands like Mohawk and Shaw.
Conventional carpets are hard on the environment and contribute to poor air quality by expelling toxic chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). However, the carpet backing can also emit these so its important to make sure your carpet installer uses backing or pads made from natural materials like camel back felt and non-synthetic latex. VOC’s are very common in pesticide treated wool materials so if you use wool, its best to make sure its untreated.
Carpet certifications make it easier for you to separate the eco-friendly carpets from the pretenders. These include The Sustainable Carpet Standard, Cradle to Cradle, Green Standard and BRE Environmental Assessment. Although all of these practice their environmental assessments in differing ways, they all maintain high standards for eco-friendly criteria like energy efficiency, manufacturing emissions and use of healthy materials.
The materials in eco-friendly carpets can be reclaimed after the carpet has run its course and used to make new carpets or down cycled into different products. Most carpet manufacturers, including Interface, Shaw, Millikin and Mohawk offer carpet take back programs that do just that so you can live free of the guilt that comes with wasting material.
We will be back soon to discuss texture and pattern trends in carpet.