Embracing a Green Frame of Mind When Choosing Rugs
When choosing the right rugs for your home, there are so much more things you should consider, other than the color and style. With the ever-growing need to take care and preserve not just our environment but our health as well, it comes as no surprise that “eco-friendly” rugs have become such a popular option.
However, what exactly makes a rug eco-friendly? How will you know that you’ve made the right choice? If you too are struggling with answering these or similar questions, here are some ways you can ensure that you’ve made the right choice.
Natural fibers is the best way to go
When choosing a rug for your home, you should always try to stick to the ones made of natural materials. The fact is that the majority of machine-made rugs and almost all of the carpets are most commonly made of synthetic fibers. These fibers are most commonly petroleum-based which means that these types of rugs can off-gas a lot of VOCs in the air you breathe. And since it has already been proven that the indoor air can get worse in quality than the air outside, contributing to this problem is definitely not something you wish to achieve. However, rugs made of natural fibers contain little to no VOCs, are usually very durable and have stain resistance (wool) and are, of course, biodegradable. So, when choosing a rug, try to go with the ones made from wool, sisal, jute, organic cotton or even silk.
Non-toxic backing and underly pads is where it’s at
Now, just because the rug itself is made of natural fibers, that doesn’t necessarily have to mean that backing and underly pads are made of natural materials as well. So, when looking into rugs, make sure that you go with the ones where these are also made of untreated natural materials. Nowadays, you can even buy new rugs online and find all the necessary information right then and there. For some additional pizzazz, you can even go with a hand-woven woollen piece that will instantly elevate the style of any room to a whole new level.
Inquire about chemical treatments
Furthermore, the point of fact is that even though a particular rug is made solely of natural materials that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe and green, especially if those materials underwent a harsh chemical treatment in the process. Very often, natural fibers are treated with insect, stain and flame repellents which can contain and emit a lot of VOCs. So, in order to ensure that the rug you’re interested in is safe, make sure you inquire about all the potential chemical treatments the fibers were exposed to. That’s why, for instance, you should always go with organically grown cotton – which is grown without using any pesticides and fertilizers, as opposed to the one that’s mass-produced and treated with all sorts of chemicals.
Learn more about Take Back programs
Some rug manufacturers offer their customers a Take Back program. This program revolves around the idea of reusing and repurposing used rugs made of synthetic fibers. So, instead of a synthetic rug ending up on a landfill, it can be returned to the manufacturer who can later decide what’s the best way to deal with it. If the rug is still in a fairly good condition, it will be repurposed – cleaned and refurbished and donated to some charity. On the other hand, if it shows serious signs of wear and tear, it will be recycled, either to make new rugs (close circle recycling) or to make other lesser pieces, like car parts, nylon pallets, sound barriers, etc. (downcycling).
Choosing the right rug for your home can be somewhat difficult if you want to approach it with a green mindset. However, if you do your due diligence and find out as much as you can about the proper ways to choose a rug for your home, the entire process will become as easy as one, two, three.