With so many folks talking about eco friendly things these days, and some things being glazed over in the color green for the sake of making a quick buck, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell what is really good for the environment and what is not.
I will give you a few very straight forward tips about rugs and what items would be most eco friendly for you to use. Please keep in mind that the fuel used to transport items from overseas to a United States warehouse is significant and should always taken into consideration when thinking about how eco friendly an item is. Naturally, this goes for many things--not just rugs.
The truly renewable resource
Wool is by far and away the most eco friendly fiber that an area rug can be made of. It is renewable, sustainable and versatile. If that is all you want to know, and don't want to get into the nitty gritty of eco-friendly rugs, then just take a look at our wool rugs and shoot me any questions you may have after looking.
This said, wool rugs are offered in a few different constructions. Each construction has a pro and a con as it relates to our environment. Below, I have indicated the type of rug construction, and then listed the pro and con for that type of construction. That way you can read through them all and determine which you think fits your goals best.
Machine woven rugs use no secondary backing material, so the eco friendly factor is excellent. This is because a secondary backing doubles the amount of material needed to create the rug, and also necessitates the use of a latex adhesive in order to hold the backing in place.
Machine woven rugs are crafted on a machine that uses electricity. That burns fossil fuels that are not renewable.
It is a good choice because it is durable, so it will not need replacement as often as other types of constructions and is not very impactful on the environment.
Hand tufted rugs are made with a wool face pile, and wool is a renewable resource.
Hand tufted rugs have a secondary backing to hold the fibers in place. Oftentimes the secondary backing is made of a natural material which is good news since it is renewable. The bad news is you are still using more resources to create a single product. Additionally, hand tufted rugs are actually made using a machine that burns fossil fuels. While "hand tufted" makes it sound like the work is being done solely by a person, in reality it is with a good deal of help from a machine.
In the world of eco friendly wool rugs, this is probably the least desirable. If I were buying a rug for it's eco-friendly values I would keep on looking.
There is no use of machinery in making these, so fossil fuel use in production is non existant. There is no secondary backing, so material overusage is non existant.
They are very durable and long lasting because of their construction, so replacement need not occur so often.
They are typically more costly than their wool counterparts.
If you have the extra money to spend on a handknotted rug, you will be making the least impact on the environment and will likely be happier with the product as well.
In this type of construction there is also no use of fossil fuels since there is no machinery.
There is not any secondary back on handloomed rugs either
They can be cleaned more often than handtufted rugs without imperiling their integrity
Patterns are typically more basic than other construction types
If you like the patterns offered in this construction type, I say go for it. It is a great bet for it's environmental impact and is all around a good way to go.
This is essentially the same as a handtufted rug. The only difference is that the pile is both looped (or hooked) and cut pile. Other that that there is still a secondary backing and still all the other stuff that makes a tufted rug a tufted rug.
The look of a handhooked rug is unique. If you like the look, then you will not be able to find it in any other constructions, so you will either have to go with a wool handhooked rug or a synthetic handhooked rug. This in mind, I suggest you go with a handhooked rug.
This is a relatively basic look at rugs and how eco friendly isn't quite as cut and dry as we would all like it to be. If you have any questions about rugs or how a rug you are considering stacks up on the eco-friendly scale please just give me a call.