Evaluating Eco-Friendly Carpet Options
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 6:07 PM
When we think of environmentally friendly flooring, what often comes to mind are naturally renewable flooring materials such as cork or bamboo (discussed in a previous green flooring options post). But in evaluating the impact a flooring material has on the environment, there are many other factors to consider.
- is the flooring able to be recycled, or is it made from recycled materials?
- Does the manufacturer use environmentally responsible manufacturing practices?
- How does the flooring and its finishes or pretreatments affect toxicity levels in the environment?
With these criteria in mind, here are a few more options to consider if you’re looking to go “green” with your next flooring purchase.
When it comes to carpet, a big concern for eco-conscious consumers are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be found in the latex binders used to secure the "tufted" fibers to the carpet backing, as well as in some carpet cushions and adhesives used in installation. Fortunately, newer technologies have allowed carpet manufactures to significantly reduce VOCs in their products.
The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), an organization dedicated to educating consumers about carpets, has developed testing to help identify those products with very low VOC emissions. When choosing carpet, look for products that include CRI’s Green Label Plus icon, which signifies the product meets CRI’s established low-VOC standards.
Environmentally Friendly Carpet Fibers
In addition, following are some great environmentally friendly carpet fiber options to consider.
When it comes to carpet fiber, you can’t get much more natural than wool. Typically sourced from the hairs of sheep, wool quickly regrows once shorn. This renewable resource is also 100% biodegradable, recyclable, and hypoallergenic. And wool’s natural built-in resistance to stains and soiling often makes pretreatment with stain protectors unnecessary, so there’s no need to worry about potentially harmful chemicals. This is another big plus if you have pets or small children who will be crawling around on this flooring.
Commonly used to make twine and rope, sisal is an extremely durable natural fiber harvested from the mature leaves of the agave sisalana plant in a process that uses no pesticides or chemical fertilizers.Sisal rugs have a rough, coarse surface that adds texture and visual interest to a room. If you prefer a less-rugged look and a more comfortable feel underfoot, consider sisals that are blended with softer fibers such as wool.
Naturally eco-friendly, seagrass is a plant fiber sourced from thick, rigid reeds that are non-porous and smooth to the touch. Once harvested, seagrass is dried and spun into yarns meticulously woven to create rugs known for their dense textured patterns. Soft underfoot, naturally stain-resistant, and hypoallergenic, seagrass rugs are not dyed but instead come in natural colors, which change as the carpets age.
For a truly recycled product, there’s polyester carpet made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate) – the plastic material used in water and soda bottles. A big advantage of PET fibers over other synthetic carpet fibers such as nylon is that PET is naturally stain-resistant and does not require chemical pretreatments. Polyester also has fewer VOC emissions than nylon because it is made with fewer additives. PET carpets also retain their color longer and are extremely resistant to fading caused by sun exposure.
The Natural Choice for Your Home
Barry Carpet carries many eco-friendly carpet & flooring options from some of the industry’s leading brands. Stop in our Barry Carpet showroom in West Los Angeles to see some samples. Or, give us a call or send an e-mail. We’d be glad to answer your questions and help you pick the natural choice that’s right for your home or office.
. We’d be happy to answer all of your hardwood flooring questions and show you the latest trend in hardwood flooring.