Here are some things to consider when buying a carpet for your home or office:
- There are chemicals and other potentially harmful materials in carpets and the pads beneath them. Among these chemicals can be toxic plastics, wool that’s full of fungicides, synthetic rubber that may contain endocrine-disrupting phthalates, toxic dyes, and flame, water, and stain repellants full of chemicals.
- Carpets accumulate dust mites, dirt, pesticides, along with other toxins
- There are materials in the carpet installation process, that include glues and other adhesives containing formaldehyde and a range of VOCs that off-gas into the home environment.
The first rule in seeking a green and non-toxic carpet is to look for fibers that occur naturally. The fibers are likely to be more environmentally friendly than synthetics which often bind together with noxious glues. Natural rug materials include sisal, rayon, silk, cotton, cour, jute, wool, bamboo, seagrass, and cork. It is also very important to consider the main material in the rug and then the backing materials too. If either material is bound together with glues, make sure they are water-soluble glues using no VOC’s. More often than not carpet glues are the worst culprit of toxicity and can take years to outgas so they should be avoided at all cost.
A newer alternative has become recycled plastic rugs. Some of them have no outgassing issues. Permalon is an example. Love the Earth, love your home. Sustainable Decor for any Home Style!! They take plastic containers and then melt them to form plastic tubes that are weaved into the rugs . Because they’re made from plastic, these rugs are durable, mold & mildew resistant so you can feel at ease leaving them in any environment.
LIt is very important to look for a carpet that has no flame retardant treatment! And no insect repellant treatment too! The backing on wall to wall is often a source of toxicity. Look for natural latex backing, camel hair felt, or jute.
One easier way is to tap into the green certification labels. These are certification programs that do the research and stand behind safe carpet choices.
- Cradle to Cradle
- CRI Green label plus
- BRE Environmental Assessment & Good Environmental Choices
- Interface Inc. Which makes modular
Even if you pick a company with a good reputation for non-toxic materials, still ask the questions. Companies change and trade hands and standards are constantly evolving. At the end of the day digging into the materials, the backing, the glues, the treatments, and the pad is essential if you want a carpet that is clean and green! Earthweave is a brand that I find particularly dependable in its policies and materials. Also, Bloomsburg Carpet is rising in this field. The first rule in seeking a green and Non-toxic carpet is to look for fibers that occur naturally. They are much more likely to be environmentally friendly than synthetics which are often bound together with noxious glues. Some other companies with good ecological policies are: Mohalk, Shaw & Beaulieu