Sourcing a “green” product for a purchase like a carpet might not seem like a big deal, but the materials and chemical treatments that go into making many consumer products affect our indoor air quality. When it comes to floor coverings, kids are especially at risk because that’s where they spend a lot of time. Here are 3 tips for choosing eco-friendly carpet for sustainable living:
Image Source: Flickr
Choose Natural Materials
Instead of synthetic; opt for carpets and rugs made entirely from natural materials that won’t off-gas. Most natural materials are biodegradable and recyclable, meaning they won’t end up in the landfill. Wool and organic cotton (non-organic cotton is treated with pesticides, and these chemicals could still linger on the materials in your home) are obvious choices, but don’t discount plant-based natural fibers such jute, sisal, bamboo and sea grass. Here’s a list of the most common natural materials rugs are made from:
- Wool: Made from the fleece of sheep and other animals, wool is the ultimate sustainable fiber, as it is renewable and abundant.
- Jute (burlap): Made from the stalk of jute, a rain-fed plant found in India and Bangladesh, it is fast growing, renewable and requires minimal fertilizer and pesticides.
- Sisal: Made from the Agave Sisalana plant, native to Mexico, Sisal is hardy, fast growing, long living and renewable.
- Sea Grass: Made from a flowering plant grown in saltwater marshes.
- Coir: Made from the outer husks of coconuts. Source: MotherEarthNews
Look for Hidden VOC’s
Check carpet labels in the store and look to see that the carpet you are interested in has been tested by the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) indoor air quality testing program. If the carpet has been tested you will see a small green house with CRI inside. This symbol verifies that the carpet has been tested and approved for low VOC emissions. Source: AllKleenCarpets
Other Green Factors
- Air out the carpet before installing. Often your carpet distributor can do this for you before it’s delivered to the job site.
- Avoid carpet pads that use styrenebutadiene rubber and use felt padding instead.
- If installation requires gluing down the carpet, use low-emitting, nonsolvent adhesives. Source: HGTV