If you’re worried about the rumors floating around concerning things like phthalates, BPA, and other VOCs, then you probably know that low air quality in homes is becoming a problem. So what’s a good step to take towards a healthier environment for your family?
Carpets and rugs are one the biggest culprits when it comes to contaminants. Reduce your exposure by learning how to make the right purchase, here are our top five tips for doing just that.
1. Look for Natural or Recycled Fibers
Most machine-made rugs are made from synthetic fibers that release VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds); they can cause long-term health problems. Instead, try to find rugs made from natural fibers like:
These rugs are made with little to no pesticides or fertilizer. They’re biodegradable, made from renewable resources, and are frequently just as stain-resistant as their manmade counterparts. You can also find rugs that are made from recycled products, like soda bottles.
2. Look Into Chemical Treatments
Many rugs made from natural fibers are still not the most eco-friendly option because they’ve been treated with repellents for stain, insects, or flammability. Or they might have been processed with other solvents and detergents that are just as chemically-laden and unhealthy. Look for non-toxic, untreated, natural dyes, or organic labels to make sure this isn’t the case with your rug.
3. Watch Out for Toxic Rug Pads
Foam rubber, plastic, and synthetic latex are all materials to avoid when it comes to picking rug backings or pads; they also harbor harmful VOCs. Try to find camel hair, felt or untreated wool backings, which are sewed or non-toxically glued to the underside of the rug. If you’re looking for a less expensive option, find a backing made from natural latex.
4. Look for Certifications
There are so many variables to be aware of that sometimes even the most informed consumer won’t find the information they’re looking for. If this is the case, just keep an eye out for a certification provided by an impartial organization, like these:
• Cradle to Cradle
• Global Organic Textile Standard
• SMART Sustainable Flooring
• Scientific Certification Systems (SCS)
• CRI Green Label Plus
• Carpet and Rug Institute
With these labels, you can be sure that a rug is made of sustainable or recycled materials, and even that some waste and pollutants have been eliminated from the manufacturing process.
5. Recycle Old Rugs
After you’ve bought a beautiful new toxin-free rug, you may want to get rid of old ones in a responsible way. Some manufacturers have a “take-back” program, where they’ll donate your worn-out rugs to charities or recycle them into new ones. If you can’t find such a program, contact the Carpet America Recovery Effort, where you’ll find the locations of their rug recycling programs.
There are so many options now available for finding the beautiful and sustainable rug that works with your lifestyle and your home. And by choosing natural rugs for your home, not only can you avoid getting allergies, headaches, and other ailments, you can also feel good about doing your part in reducing the waste that goes towards making harmful rugs.