There are degrees of sustainability and many carpet materials and manufacturers to choose from.
- It is important to avoid products with emissions that would negatively affect your home's indoor air quality.
- Also, because our landfills are filled with carpet remains, look for carpets that contain recycled material and can be recycled.
Green Label Plus
When selecting a carpet, look for the CRI (Carpet and Rug Institute) Green Label Plus logo, which indicates a very low-emitting carpet.
A beautiful natural-fiber carpet line that bears the CRI Green Label Plus logo is Fabrica Carpet, made of 100-percent New Zealand wool. It is a high-quality carpet that comes in a variety of colors and textures. Of the carpets that I am recommending, this would be the most expensive.
There are other beautiful 100-percent-natural wool carpets available.Nature's Carpet and Earth Weave are the most rigorous in their sustainable practices, with minimal chemical treatment at every stage of production.
- Dyes and stain protections typically used by other carpet manufacturers are not used in these products. (Given these practices, the range of colors is limited.)
- The carpet backing is made of 100-percent hemp, cotton, or jute bound to the wool face with natural latex or rubber.
- These would be considered biodegradable carpets.
Recycled nylon and polyester
Of the synthetic carpets, recycled nylon and polyester are the most sustainable choices. Half the carpet sold today is nylon. It outlasts polyester, is more resilient, resists mildew, and has very good color retention.
- ShawMark is made of Shaw Industries' Anso nylon fiber, a Cradle-to-Cradle (C2C) certified fiber that can be recycled over and over. When the carpet has reached the end of its useful life, Shaw will take it back and recycle it into new flooring. ShawMark is very well priced and a great seller in our showroom.
- Bliss by Beaulieu is a 100-percent-recycled polyester (PET) carpet that meets CRI Green Label Plus emissions standards and comes in a very good range of colors. It has a five-year limited texture-retention warranty, a lifetime limited stain warranty, and a 10-year limited durability warranty. Of the carpets that I am recommending, this would be the least expensive.
Buy local if you can
There is one carpet mill that I could find in Pennsylvania-Bloomsburg Carpet Mill. Their carpets bear the CRI Green Label Plus logo and would be considered "local" for you.
For more information:
Check GreenHomeGuide's Know How section for buyer's guides and backgrounders on green flooring.
Also, read William Janhonen's Q&A "I want low VOC carpet to replace my old carpeting. What are the best -- and least toxic -- conventional choices?"