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Where are the best places (online or in person) to shop for a new healthy and sustainable residential rug or carpet?

Allison Friedman MA, United States 0 Ratings 101 Discussions 131 Group posts

Posted by: Allison Friedman // Rate It Green Admin

Sustainable Rugs and Carpets, Carpeting, Green Flooring

So my son wants a new rug for his room, and we need a new rug in the basemet, preferably a thick one since this is going in a room a band practices in, and they want to keep the sound from bouncing a lot.

With all of the green building progress in recent years, why does this seem difficult?  I bought a rug from a pretty known store I won't name, and I had someone come in to steam clean it once, mostly for dust and allergen reasons, and the cleaner said, "Oh [that store], yeah their stuff is awful in terms of the chemicals.  You should maybe throw that away."

Ok... but WHAT to buy?  And where to go?  In commercial green building, there are some great options now - carpets that are made sustainably or with fewer chemicals, and can even be recycled at the end of use. And more and more, we do see collaborations to help identify leading sustainable commercial products, and some collaborative efforts to make this information more available.  

But what does the average consumer do? When I go to a store and ask about certain carpet standards, the salespeople look at me like I am from another planet.  I also wish the current standards went further on toxicity and sustainability. I know there are some natural wool products out there and I am happy to hear and to help share information about these as well, but what are the other choices for a more natural or healthy rug?  How can we make it easier for everyone to shop sustainably?  I really think this is important.  I keep asking, and I do keep hearing, "You know, other people have asked me that too... I don't know."  We had trouble procuring cerrtified wood for a project.  I also went to a tile store where they literally didn't know until I asked and they looked that pretty much all of their glass tile is recycled.  We can help these stores do better, but we also need to share what's working, so people know where to go and what to ask for.    

I think we need to get these options out there.  This is not a small market.  And industry folks can't keep complaining about a lack of demand if the information isn't easily available for most people.  If we make it easy, then it won't just be "people like us" asking and getting wide stares sometimes.  Or salespeople telling us to email our inquiry in to customer service because they really don't know.    

I will make one carpet/rug recommendation since it did work for us once.  We have a rug from FLOR, and I can say I like their designs and the rug is fine, and it's great that it can be made in any size due to the way it's made up of the square pieces.  This is just maybe not the rug my son wants for his room (he wants thicker), and for a band room they also want something that looks, well, a little more just like plain and normal rug.  

Please chime in with other stores or brands you like - from anywhere.  Let's share! I took the above photo in my basement, and then of course I thought about how that plastic ball is likely toxic....  The things we learn as we go.  Let's all help each other figure this out.  

Also, I am looking for brands but also where people can go to buy the items.  We have a list of green building retailers/stores on the site, which I know I likely and sadly have to update (because some are no longer open), though many of these are building and energy focused, and are not related to furnishing as much.  So, what about also the stores or retailers that are knowledgeable, or even where they have these great, certified items but they don't even know it?  I love all of this increased information, but what's part of the point if we also can't convey this information even to consumers who really do want to know?  

Put it this way.  I am ready to buy.  I and lots of other people want to buy more sustainable items for our homes, too.  I think together we have a lot to spend.  I really don't want to make any more major purchases that are not sustainable.  And I just wish it were less difficult for all of us.  I mean, this is one reason I work to make green building information more available generally.  So I just feel bad when sometimes it still seems pretty difficult to actually just go out and find and purchase many items.  Thanks in advance for help and advice.    







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