From reclaimed wooden furniture to recycling bottles and cans to drinking out of mason jars with paper straws, being more eco-conscious is definitely becoming a more pronounced part of the public consciousness. It’s rare to find something that can get a big thumbs-up on all three parts of the classic “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” but eco-friendly carpet really can do all three!
Every year, tons of carpet is thrown away in landfills, and most of that carpet is made from synthetic materials that contain oils and plastics that take a long time to biodegrade, and some of these materials don’t biodegrade at all. The best way to reduce the amount of carpet in landfills is to choose a durable carpet that will need to be replaced less often. Both natural wool and recycled carpet are durable, color-fast, stain-resistant and hold up well over time. Choosing recycled carpet can also bring the decision to recycle closer to home. It’s easy to remember to recycle those bottles if you have a good example of what they can become.
What Is Recycled Carpet?
Simply put, recycled carpet is carpet made from recycled materials instead of being made from new synthetic materials. Recycled carpet is durable, surprisingly pleasant to walk on, and good for high-traffic areas of your home.
Carpet Made of Recycled Plastic
Do you recycle plastic bottles? Do you ever wonder what happens to those plastic bottles after you drop them in the recycle bin? Some of those plastic bottles are used to make carpet made from P.E.T plastic fibers; one square yard of carpet fiber can be made out of 50 plastic 2-liter bottles. That might sound like a lot of bottles, but if all the 2-liter bottles in America were recycled into carpet, that would be 552 million square yards of carpet—and that’s just for one year.
Is Plastic Eco-Friendly Carpet Safe for Your Home?
In a short answer, yes it is completely safe. The longer answer is that the P.E.T flakes from crushed plastic bottles are put through an electrostatic separator to remove aluminum, a rigorous multi-step washing and then a variety of other particle separation processes to ensure that all contaminants and harmful substances are removed from the plastic.
You might be thinking of the Astroturf lawn from the Brady Bunch, but carpet made from recycled bottles uses a process that turns the plastic into carpet fibers that are soft and do not look like plastic at all. It’s durable, stain-resistant, color-fast. It honestly feels just like regular carpet. Carpet manufacturers have recently begun to refine the plastic recycling process so that making an environmentally conscious choice doesn’t mean sacrificing durability, quality, or comfort.
Wool as an Alternative
If plastic carpet doesn’t sound like the right option for you, consider wool to be your “natural recycling” alternative. Wool is sheared off of sheep, and the fibers are turned into carpet. The only downside is that wool is one of the more expensive carpet fibers—but the upside is that it’s also one of the most durable types of carpet on the market. In the long run, paying more money for something that lasts longer can be more cost-effective than buying something cheaper that needs to be frequently replaced.
Ask About Carpet Recycling Services
When removing old carpet from your home, make sure you ask about carpet recycling services. Sometimes your old carpet can avoid ending up in a landfill and be repurposed.
Carpet Direct can walk you through our eco-friendly carpet options, and discuss which carpet is right for your home!