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Green Flooring – Carpet


Green Flooring - Carpet

Green carpet varieties are now available for the eco–minded consumer. Collaborative effort from the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have resulted in carpet that emits significantly fewer VOCs than preceding types. Their goal in promoting reusable carpet and reducing the amount of waste has led to an increase in carpets made from recycled materials.

In fact, a number of manufacturers are now producing carpet made with recycled content, such as recycled polyester. Carpet backing is also receiving the green treatment and can be made with latex and post–industrial nylon. Wool carpet is also considered environmentally friendly flooring as the resource used to produce it is renewable, biodegradable and recyclable.


  • CRI–approved carpets and carpet padding are available
  • Many manufacturers produce area rugs made with natural fibers like hemp and cotton
    Note: Natural doesn't always mean environmentally–friendly.
  • Wool carpet is available. Wool is renewable, biodegradable and recyclable
  • Carpets that contain low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs)* are available
  • Some denser carpets are made with organic cotton
  • Polyethylene terephtalate (PET) polyester carpeting is made with recycled materials

*VOCs are toxic, carbon–based chemical compounds that can cause sneezing, headaches and nausea and are even associated with increased cancer risk.


  • Some carpets contain high levels of VOCs, which can negatively add to indoor and outdoor air pollution
  • Without proper care, some carpets may only last for 10 years or less
  • Some carpet factories are known to burn large amounts of fossil fuels

Green Flooring Tips – Carpet

  • Buy carpet adhesive that is formaldehyde–free and biodegradable (e.g. adhesives made from natural rubber)
  • Instead of carpet roll, install carpet tiles. This way if there's carpet damage, you can replace the individual tile. This is more cost–effective and can also help minimize waste
  • Instead of throwing your old carpet in the trash bin, give it to a carpet reclamation center so it can be recycled and used for new carpeting
  • Avoid purchasing vinyl– or styrene–backed carpet, as both are toxic and believed to be carcinogenic
  • Most of the pollution from carpet manufacturing is a result of the dyeing process. Choose solution–dyed* nylon carpet as this excretes the least pollution of all of the dyeing methods
  • Choose carpet that can handle heavier traffic

*Solution dyeing is a process in which the color pigment is applied to the polymer before the fiber is extruded.