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Environmentally friendly and low VOC carpets are more and more frequently asked about when customers visit our showroom. For very good reasons, I thought I would provide some useful information to assist with this growing topic. 

When carpets are manufactured, latex, dyes and other chemicals are used in the process. Therefore, in some cases using such substances is unavoidable. However, if you are looking to purchase a more environmentally friendly carpet, you will be looking at a few factors. 

Environmentally friendly

With the ever-changing climate and our path to finding a sustainable future, we are looking for a greener way of life. This is achievable by using renewable resources. The main focus for carpet manufacturers to reach the goal of low VOC and being environmentally friendly is sustainable carpet content using very little/no dye and chemicals. 100% undyed wool is the way forward for this. Although expensive, using this renewable source is better for your health, and the environment and is a better insulation to the home, therefore reducing heat loss and saving energy.

Not only thinking about how the carpet can be sustainable and environmentally friendly, you could also use underlay with the same values and properties to reach the goal. In general, we use Polyurethane Foam underlay. PU Foam, as we call it, is made from recycled foam. It is durable but also has the benefits of providing comfort underfoot, insulation and reduced sound. 

However, Ulster carpets also offer Axfelt. This underlay is comprised of three layers and is 100% recycled. Reducing landfill waste is not only better for us but also for our planet. The first layer is made up of recycled yarn and wool. The second layer is recycled wool yarn and wool carpet waste. Finally, the third layer is made from recycled tractors and lorry tyres. This combination provides durability, comfort, and insulation. 

VOC – (Volatile Organic Compounds) 

As there is little exchange in the inside and outside air within the home, you may be concerned about the quality of the air and pollution. Compromised and polluted air can be caused by fibres, allergens and smoke, but it can also be caused by VOCs. Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals within the manufacturing process, mainly in the carpet backing. These chemicals are converted into gasses and emitted into the environment. The main chemicals are styrene and 4-phenylcyclohexane (4-PC). Therefore, if you have allergies, or have young and vulnerable children, you could be looking into these types of flooring. 

The proof is in the pudding

There are various stamps of approval in the manufacturing of flooring. The first to look for is;

  • GOTS – The Global Organic Textile Standard.

This organisation is striving to achieve an all-inclusive, sustainable solution to processing organic fibre with due diligence to the planet and with human rights at the forefront. 

  • GUT – (Gemeinschaft umweltfreundlicher Teppichboden e.V.)

The GUT test has been using a test chamber method for flooring since 1990 and this ensures carpets have very low emissions. This means that air quality with low emissions meets the standards set by international and national building certification schemes. If you choose a carpet with a GUT label, you can be assured that it has passed the test for having low emissions.

Carpets that carry the OKEO-Tex label have had every component tested with strict criteria. They are tested for harmful substances, meaning that the carpet is proven harmless to human health.

Take a look at the video brought to you by GOTS

Which manufacturers are moving mountains

In our opinion, the carpets we sell with the above at the forefront of manufacturing are; Ulster Carpets and Riviera Home. 

Ulster carpets are front runners with their 100% wool carpet ranges, and they are also advocates of the Campaign for Wool, which was founded by His Majesty King Charles III. Click here to read about their approach to sustainable and renewable resources assisting a greener planet. 

Riviera Home are producing fantastic 100% undyed wool ranges; Eco Nature Collection. They are paving the way for a sustainable flooring future, so please click here to continue reading about their approach to producing the carpets in a low-impact and environmentally friendly way.  

If you need any further advice or assistance in choosing a sustainable carpet, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.