Environmentally Friendly Carpet Options — Accidentally Green

Environmentally Friendly Carpet Options - Accidentally Green

Environmentally Friendly Carpet Options

April 18, 2012

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On Monday  I explained what toxins lurk in carpet. Sometimes, though, a hard surface floor just isn’t feasible. After Prince Charming and I ripped up the hideously smelly and stained carpet from our new home, we discovered we had finished hardwood floors in the upstairs – but we’d need to recarpet the downstairs. (Well, we could have installed new hardwood for triple the price we could afford.)

As dutiful bargain hunters, we searched local flooring stores and chain stores. On a whim, we remembered the ad for Empire Carpet and called for a consultation. We were leery about not seeing the company’s price range ahead of time, but we actually enjoyed our time checking our all kinds of carpet samples with our sales associate in our unfinished living room. When it came time for pricing, we were shocked when the price was slightly cheaper than our original top choice – plus, it could be installed the next day. We chose our carpet on the spot (although, really – our three top carpet choices from three different manufacturers all looked alike) and decided to wait a few days for installation.

Then we discovered the great news. We had chosen an eco-friendly carpet! Made with the corn-based polymer Triexta, our carpet choice received a Green Label from the Carpet and Rug Institute (read more about this below). That meant it was free from polyester and nylon. Other good news was that our carpet installers would recycle our old carpet, free of charge.

Greener carpet options

This post isn’t all about my family’s carpet choices, though – it’s about what kind of green carpets are available.

While some carpets are made with Triexta (by the way, Triexta provides excellent stain protection), other carpets are made with recycled content like plastic soft drink and water bottles. And natural flooring options also can be made of organic wool or cotton, bamboo, seagrass, sisal, or jute.

When installing new carpet, be sure to check on your padding – some carpet padding made of recycled materials is available.

To avoid adding more carpet to landfills, try to choose a carpet installer that will recycle your old carpet. While currently there aren’t many independent locations across the United States, check out Carpet American Recovery Effort’s website  for carpet recyclers.

If you love the carpet you already have, you can make it safer. SafeChoice Carpet Seal provides an odor- and water-resistant barrier that stops outgassing for a year.

Green Label

When looking for environmentally friendly carpet, the Carpet and Rug Institute has done all the hard work already. By independently testing carpet for emissions, the CRI recognizes environmentally friendly carpets with the Green Label.

Throughout testing, CRI checks for Acetaldehyde, Benzene, Caprolactam, 2-Ethylhexanoic Acid, Formaldehyde, 1-Methyl-2-Pyrrolidinone, Naphthalene, Nonanal, Octanal, 4-Phenylcyclohexene, Styrene, Toluene, and Vinyl Acetate. All are chemicals commonly found in carpeting, carpet backing, padding, and adhesives – and all emit volatile organic compounds. The carpet materials with the lowest VOCs receive the CRI’s Green Label. (For more information, click here.)

Talk back

If you’ve chosen environmentally-friendly flooring for your home, what did you choose – and why?

Disclosure: Accidentally Green receives absolutely no commission from Empire Carpet or the Carpet and Rug Institute.

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