Sustainable carpet is an environmentally-friendly solution for both residential and commercial flooring. Here are the basics of shopping for eco-friendly carpet.
What Makes Carpet “Green”?
Sustainable carpet is defined by both the manufacturing processes and materials used in production. In general, sustainable carpet is made with natural, renewable resources with a production process that minimizes environmental impact.
Ideally, carpeting should be made from natural fibers that have undergone minimal chemical treatment. Some carpets also have backing made from natural fibers and is attached using only non-toxic adhesive. Often, carpet pads are made from petroleum, which is a nonrenewable resource that consumes excessive energy. Instead, choose a carpet that doesn’t require padding, or opt for padding made from recycled cotton or other recycled materials.
The installation method is also an important factor in carpet sustainability, since many glues used to install carpeting are toxic. Instead, carpet can be tacked down or glued with a water-based adhesive that has low VOCs.
Types of Sustainable Carpet
Wool carpeting has been used for hundreds of years and is sturdier than traditional nylon carpet, standing up to frequent use without crushing and matting. This completely natural and renewable product reduces static electricity, is flame resistant, and is easy to clean and maintain.
Recycled carpeting contains post-industrial content from a variety of industries. In addition, more recycled carpeting options are currently being developed through the advance of processing technology.
What Are the Benefits?
In addition to preserving environmental resources and limiting exposure to chemicals, eco-friendly carpet has other consumer benefits. Sustainable carpets:
– are easy to clean and maintain
– provide improved acoustics in classroom settings
– are safe for seniors who may be at risk of falls
– can be easily replaced if modular carpet tiles are used
– are durable
– are often less expensive than non-sustainable carpeting options
Those considering eco-friendly carpet should choose a product that is designated as NSF 140, the first carpet sustainability certification in the United States. Other important industry certifications include Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) Green Label and Green Label Plus, U.S. EPA Design for the Environment, and Greenguard Indoor Air Quality.