Natural, earth friendly rugs for your home

When looking for eco-friendly rugs there are a lot of factors to consider. Some could include what the rug is made of, if it was responsibly manufactured, and is it recycled? A nice rug is soft underfoot and sound-absorbing, making it a popular choice for flooring in many homes. Unfortunately, it also tends to be hard on the environment.

Types of eco-friendly rugs

Eco-friendly rugs come in virtually all varieties, from area rugs and wall-to-wall installations to customizable rug carpet tiles. Rugs made from natural, renewable fibers are usually the most environmentally friendly and include sisal, seagrass, coir, organic cotton, jute, organic wool and bamboo. The materials used to create these rugs are biodegradable and don’t require a lot of fertilizer and pesticides to produce.

Recycled material area rugs are another eco-friendly option. Rather than making the rug from petroleum and other fossil fuels, some manufacturers use both pre- and post-consumer plastics like polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, or industrial scraps.

Natural materials don’t guarantee healthy rug – be sure you’re not buying a seemingly eco-friendly rug that has actually been treated with insect or flame repellents. Conventionally-produced wool can also have a heavy environmental impact due to the pesticide baths used to control parasites on sheep.

Choose responsible companies

Look for green carpet and rug certifications like Cradle to Cradle, The Sustainable Carpet Standard (NSF 140), CRI Green Label Plus, BRE Environmental Assessment and Good Environmental Choice (Australia). Each of these certification programs uses different assessment methodology to ensure that the carpet meets environmental criteria like use of healthy materials, energy efficiency, manufacturing emissions, water use and waste.

Many rug companies not only offer a wide range of eco-friendly options, but also take responsibility to ensure that their manufacturing processes are not harming the planet. Interface, Inc., which produces the popular modular FLOR tiles, has been named among the world’s most environmentally friendly businesses for its aggressive progress in sustainability including using recycled materials, reclaiming old carpet, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and coming up with inventive new ways to reuse waste yarn. Other carpet manufacturers with notable eco-friendly policies include Mohawk, Shaw and Beaulieu.

Take-back programs

An important factor to consider when buying eco-friendly rugs is whether the material is biodegradable or recyclable. Many manufacturers, including Interface, Mohawk, Shaw, Milliken Carpet, Bentley Prince Street and C&A offer take-back programs that reclaim commercial or residential carpeting and rugs and find ways to reuse it. This may mean turning it into new carpet or down-cycling it into another type of product.

Dyeing old rugs

Instead of buying eco-friendly rugs, you could also consider having your existing one dyed to a new color. A company called Color Your Carpet re-dyes old rugs in the custom color of your choice. Even stained, faded, multi-colored or patterned rugs can be dyed to match your home decor. While the dyes used are not necessary natural and non-toxic, this service can save a lot of floor coverings from the landfill.

Being earth friendly is the only way make your home beautiful and healthy, and good for the environment too.

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