If it's time to replace your carpet, you may be wondering what the best carpet is for you going forward. While appearance and durability are often considered, another factor you may want to think about is what carpet options are the best for the environment.
Today, there are many eco-friendly carpet options. You do not have to sacrifice look or feel to get a carpet that is better for the environment than carpets were in previous years.
One thing you can do to be environmentally friendly is to dispose of your old carpet properly. Do not simply throw giant rolls of carpet into your garbage bins.
Before you begin removing your carpet, ask around to see if anyone wants it. This could be a friend or family member or a local charitable organization.
While this may mean that you have to take extra care when removing the carpet, having someone take your old carpet and use it is obviously better for the environment than letting the carpet end up at a landfill.
If no one wants your old carpet, look at local guidance regarding carpet removal. There may be some resources on how to properly dispose of the carpet in a way that is not as harmful to the environment as other methods are.
You could also ask whoever is installing your new carpet, or delivering it if you are installing it yourself, to remove your old carpet. Most companies will do this for a small fee. You should ask ahead of time to make sure the installer will be disposing of the old carpet in a way that is eco-friendly.
There is more than one carpet option available to you today that is eco-friendly. In addition to wall-to-wall carpets, there are also eco-friendly area rugs and carpet tiles available on the market, all of which are easy to find.
Most eco-friendly carpets are made from either recycled materials or things that are biodegradable. The materials are created without a lot of fertilizers and pesticides, which can both be harmful to the environment.
The goods they are made from are also easier to recycle later on than other materials, meaning that when you no longer want the carpet, you can dispose of it in a green way.
Some environmentally friendly carpet brands actually have a take-back program for when you no longer want the carpet. These companies then find ways to reuse the carpet, which is obviously more environmentally friendly than tossing it away.
Pick Good Companies
Make sure to buy your carpet from eco-friendly companies that are known for their sustainability. There are a variety of certifications available for green carpets. Looking for one is a great way to determine if your carpet is green.
Some of the most common certifications to check for are Cradle to Cradle, CRI Green Label Plus, The Sustainable Carpet Standard, NSF and Underwriters Laboratories’ Environmental Claim Validation, and the BRE Environmental Assessment.
Carpets with these certifications are green and made in a way that is less harmful to the environment than the more traditional carpet manufacturing process.
Recycled carpets, as their name suggests, are made from recycled goods. Most commonly, these carpets use plastics like polyethylene terephthalate bottles or industrial scraps. Carpets advertised as PET carpets are made entirely from recycled plastic bottles that were once used to store beverages.
The PET fibers are stain-resistant naturally and do not require chemical treatments. The carpets do not fade quickly, meaning it will be a long time before you need to replace them. Buying carpet less often is obviously more environmentally friendly than having to purchase carpets frequently.
Once these carpets are no longer wanted, they can be recycled again into furniture stuffing, insulation, or other uses.
These carpets can, however, "shed" microfibers which means more cleaning, specifically more vacuuming, will be necessary.
Dye Old Carpet
If you have a carpet that is still in good shape but has faded over the years or is not the color you want to have in the room for whatever reason, you could consider dying your current carpet instead of purchasing an entirely new carpet.
Bringing new life into your existing carpet is obviously more environmentally friendly than replacing it altogether. Make sure you are using environmentally friendly dye to do this project.
Go to a local home improvement store and talk to experts there about how to go about this process. How to dye a carpet can vary wildly based on the carpet type, dye, and age of the carpet.
One of the biggest causes of greenhouse gas emissions is vehicles. If you are trying to be more environmentally conscious, purchase a carpet that will not need to travel a long way to get to you.
If you can get a carpet that is currently in stock at a nearby warehouse and will not need to be shipped, this is a much more environmentally friendly option than one that needs to come from overseas or even the other side of the country.
You should ask your carpet salesperson about how far the carpet will be traveling to get to you.
Unlike some other carpet options that are popular today, wool is not treated with harmful chemicals and does not use synthetic dyes or other synthetic materials. This makes it a great option for those looking for a high-quality, comfortable carpet that is still environmentally friendly.
Wool can also help purify the air around you. Wool absorbs air pollutants and does not emit them, making them a great carpet option for anyone who has chemical sensitivities. It also prevents you from needing to buy machines to do this for you.
The downside, however, is that wool carpet is generally more expensive than synthetic carpet options. Wool is highly durable, though, and will not need to be replaced for a long time.
Wool often costs $5 to $26 per square foot, while synthetic carpets can range from $2 to $15 a square foot. It may not seem like a big difference in cost, but if you are filling a large space, that will add up quickly.
Seagrass carpet is a great eco-friendly carpet option. The carpet is natural and sustainable, which makes it greener than other carpet types.
The carpet is made from a plant that grows near the coast. The plant is picked by hand, dried, and woven together to create a carpet.
It is softer than a lot of the other natural fiber flooring options on the market today. It is non-porous, which makes it very durable and resistant to stains. The fibers do not attract dust or bacteria.
This also makes it easy to maintain without having to use a lot of chemical cleaners to maintain its beauty. Furthermore, things like sand do not damage the carpets the way they will some others.
Another popular eco-friendly carpet choice is jute carpets. Jute carpets are made from the jute plant, which is found in Asia. It is a very durable material that is used in burlap, ropes, and rugs, in addition to jute carpets.
Despite being incredibly durable, jute carpets are also fairly soft. They are also a great option for people with allergies because they are made with natural fibers.
Jute carpets are also fairly affordable, which makes them a great way to be eco-friendly on a tight budget. They also last a long time. Different manufacturers, however, tout their products as having different lifespans, which you should always consider when purchasing the carpet.
Be careful, however. Jute rugs can sometimes have an earthy smell when they are first purchased. After a few days, though, the smell should dissipate some.
Jute carpets can show water marks and stains easier than some other carpet types, so be careful not to get them wet. If you live in a home with a pool, for example, and a lot of people will be walking from the pool and onto the carpet in your home, jute carpets may not be a good choice for you.
Sisal is also a great carpet option. It is made using the leaves of an agave plant. This is why it has a strong, stiff fiber. It is a non-toxic, natural fiber flooring option. It is also considered a good carpet choice for people with asthma and allergies.
Sisal looks incredibly similar to jute. The major difference, though, is that sisal is stronger and more durable. This makes it a great option if you expect to install the carpet in an area with a lot of wear and tear, like an entryway. Worn sisal floors, however, can become slippery, so avoid installing this carpet type as stair runners.
The carpet is not as soft as jute carpets are. They can actually be pretty coarse.
Sisal carpets can last up to 15 years. To keep yours in the best possible shape, you should vacuum it regularly.
Coir mats are another eco-friendly carpet option because they are made up of natural fibers. Specifically, coir carpet is made from the husk of a coconut. The husk is the part of the coconut between the outer coating and inside shell.
It is a very durable carpet option that does well in high-traffic areas. That's why coir is often used on doormats. Coir carpets are not the most comfortable carpets in the world and are not often used in bedrooms or a kid's playroom but are great in entryways. Coir carpet is very resistant to wear and tear.
If you have a stain on your coir carpet, use a brush or a sponge with carpet shampoo and warm water. Do not penetrate the fabric too deeply, but dab at it to remove the stain. You can repeat this until the stain has been removed.
Coir can be subject to large transportation expenses, and the price can vary wildly, so make sure to do your research if you are considering installing coir carpets in your home.
Organic Cotton Carpet
Organic cotton carpets are better for the environment than other cotton carpets on the market because they do not use a large number of chemicals. In addition to making them more environmentally friendly, this also means that the carpet is better for people with allergies and other sensitivities than non-organic options.
Cotton is a very soft material, so organic cotton carpets are a great opinion for bedrooms, playrooms, and other areas you might lay in or walk through with your bare feet. They are much nicer to walk on than coir and other fibrous types of carpets.
Organic cotton carpets can be cleaned easily by vacuuming or steam cleaning the area.
Another advantage is these carpets can come in many different colors. Some other eco-friendly carpets are very difficult to dye and do not come in many color options.
These carpets can, however, be quite expensive, so you may need to wait for a sale or shop around for a deal.
Bamboo carpets, as their name suggests, are made from bamboo stalks, making these carpets a great, eco-friendly option. Bamboo is easy to grow, which makes this carpet easy to find and relatively affordable.
In addition to bamboo, the carpets are coated with a polyurethane coating to prevent stains and scratches. Still, bamboo carpets are best used in light-traffic areas so they will retain their look and last a long period of time.
Know Your Options
Once you have read up on all your carpet options, it is time to select the right one for you. Make sure you consider where the carpet will be installed and how long you are hoping it will last.
If you are installing the carpet yourself, you should also consider what material you will be able to install the most easily. You should also consider both the initial cost of the carpet, how long it will be before the carpet needs to be replaced, and the cost of maintaining the carpet.