There a few different categories when considering environmentally friendly carpet. For example, do you want your new carpet to be made of recycled materials? Maybe instead you want it to be recyclable or made of more environmentally friendly material?
Is this carpet made of pop bottles? Otherwise known as PET carpet fiber, these carpets are made of recycled drink and food containers and have been around for a while now. Depending on which brand you are looking at will dictate how much of the fiber is recycled content. Some of the carpet styles from GreenFloors is made from 100% post-consumer recycled food and drink containers. They say that if you purchase one square yard, you will be keeping approximately forty plastic containers out of a landfill. Since the carpet is also made of the top quality PET resins that the FDA requires you can also expect lower VOC’s. Many companies make PET carpet, so it is important to ask what the recycled content is and not just assume that is 100% post-consumer waste. Anyway you go with a PET carpet though you will be getting something environmentally friendly, it just might not be as environmentally friendly as it could be!
Is this carpet recyclable? Nylon 6 carpets can be recycled. Shaw Flooring has a manufacturing plant that recycles Nylon 6 fiber carpets and turns them into new carpets. This is awesome because it keeps old carpets out of landfills and reduces the amount of new material is used. They call this process Cradle-to-Cradle, because the carpet fibers are taken out of the earth and end up being reused for new carpet. The opposite of this saying is Cradle-to-Grave, because usually new material is taken out of the earth and then deposited into a landfill when it has served it’s purpose. So if you’re interested in keeping your carpet out of the landfill, make sure it is made out of Nylon 6.
Is this carpet environmentally friendly? There are a few different carpets that are 100% environmentally friendly. One in particular is wool carpeting. Companies like EcoByDesign have wool carpeting that is 100% natural. From the wool fibers to the hemp and jute backings, everything is environmentally friendly. The backings are even held together by a natural rubber adhesive from an actual rubber tree. Wool isn’t your only option there are others, take Smartstrand made with Dupont Sorona for example. It is made with 37% bio based material (corn). Its production requires 30% less energy than nylons and emits over 60% less in the greenhouse gases department. No matter whether you chose a carpet made of wool or corn, or a handful of other green choices, with a little research you can find a carpet that is better for the environment.
It’s the deciding between which type of environmentally friendly is right for you that will depend on which features you’re the most interested in. Make sure you also keep in mind your own sense of style and what your budget dictates. There really isn’t one carpet that is right for everyone. However there is one rating system that will make sure that your carpets are low VOC’s and that is to look for the Carpet and Rug Institutes Green Label and Green Label Plus symbol. These symbols will alert you as to how much off gassing you can expect from your new carpet. Regular Green Label means it’s low, while Green Label Plus means it’s one of the “lowest off gassers” on the market today.