Earth-Friendly Rugs: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
Once you have your dream house, the next step is turning it into a warm and cozy home that reflects your personality and style but is also comfortable and safe for your family. This is why we do all we can to eliminate any dangers or hazardous materials that could compromise the health of our family.
What has also become an important issue in the past decade, is designing our homes so they’re safe for the environment as well, so we’re turning more and more to sustainable building materials and eco-friendly furnishings and decorations.
Fortunately, nowadays, with modern technology and contemporary design, this doesn’t mean your home will be filled with second-hand stuff, but high quality, environmentally friendly design pieces.
By going with this kind of design, you will be promoting:
- a healthy living style
- improving your indoor air quality,
- saving energy
- and money
- and ultimately, reducing your carbon footprint.
If you’re still wondering how and where to start, your floor is a good starting point and here’s how to choose the best eco-friendly rug for your home.
Over 90% of all machine-produced rugs and carpets are made of petroleum-based synthetic fibers which emit very high amounts of VOCs. Quite the contrary, natural fiber rugs come from renewable sources, can be biodegraded, are naturally stain resistant and emit minimal VOCs.
When it comes to choosing a rug made of natural fibers, you can opt among organic cotton, jute, seagrass, coir, sisal and untreated or minimally treated wool.
Rugs commonly have a backing and underlay pads and it’s very important that these elements are also produced from untreated natural materials so there’s no additional off-gassing. When you’re buying your rug, make sure you look for pads that are made of natural materials and are sewn to a jute backing and not glued.
Another option you can have is to buy a rug with natural latex backing which most people prefer to synthetic latex, plastic or foam rubber. The best course of action would probably be to buy new rugs online as the choice is much wider too, so you have more chances of finding the one that will fit in with your existing home decor and satisfy your unique taste.
Chemical treatment information
Even when the rugs were made of all natural fibers, they can still be treated with against fire, stain and insects, which are all chemicals that emit high VOCs. For example, farms that use traditional methods to raise sheep, often dip them into pesticide baths to prevent mites, ticks or lice infections, even though this poses a great health risk both for the sheep and the workers. Wool obtained from those sheep is also frequently treated with more detergents and solvents.
Even cotton farming uses a lot of fertilizers and chemical pesticides and relies greatly on synthetic chemicals. On the other hand, organically grown cotton uses no bleach, pesticides, defoliants or any kind of artificial fertilizers. This is why it’s imperative you look for chemical treatment information given on the rug labels and choose those that say untreated, minimally treated, organic and non.-toxic.
It’s quite difficult sometimes, if not often impossible, to find out all the details and information about rug production, as an individual consumer. For that reason and to be on the safe side, purchase a rug whose environmental information has been verified by an independent organization.
This type of certification guarantees that the rugs in question were produced from sustainable resources or recycled materials, and that the company has made sure the production process was eco-friendly.
Return policy for synthetic rugs
If you do end up buying a synthetic rug, be sure to check the manufacturer’s return policy. When you return a rug, it either goes into closed loop recycling, or it’s repurposed or turned into various other products like carpet pads, auto parts, nylon pallets and so on.
It only takes a few small steps in the right direction to make a big change. Choosing your rugs wisely is definitely among the things that will help you move towards a healthier home and a healthier life.