The term ‘eco-friendly’ has caught the fancy of marketers everywhere. With consumers increasingly becoming conscious of the effects of their purchases on the environment, manufacturers and business conglomerates are adopting stringent green guidelines and protocols.
The harmful effects of chemically-treated household products manifest themselves in illnesses and allergies. Indoor air quality deteriorates when chemicals, pollutants and allergens are found in homes. And they come from a variety of sources, including household cleaners and chemical ingredients used in flooring.
So when there are so many reasons to encourage a green and healthy home interior, why should you hesitate from making safe choices?
Let’s start from the basic, the floor and the carpeting you have beneath your feet.
Eco-friendly flooring is no longer unattractive and uninviting. There are many attractive options for you to choose from. Listed below are a few of them.
Cork floors have grown in popularity over the past few years.
Cork is not only used as an organic plug to preserve the freshness and purity of wine, it is also a wonderful insulator and has hypo-allergenic and anti-microbial qualities. Cork flooring is fire-retardant and soft and easy on the bones. As opposed to harder floors, long hours of standing upright on cork floors will not cause your feet or back to hurt.
Cork is harvested from the bark of the cork trees. The trees are not felled and continue to live for as long as 200 years. The bark grows back in a few years and can be harvested again.
Wool spells ultimate luxury when it comes to carpeting. Genuine wool carpets last for centuries when properly cared for.
Wool as you very well know is made from the wool shorn off sheep. It is bio-degradable and requires no chemical additives or harmful dyeing when made scientifically. Wool is hypo-allergenic and fire-retardant. It also wears well and does not matte down easily, even in high-traffic areas.
So, the next time you are out shopping for rugs or carpets, remember that wool is the way to go.
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Recycled Rubber Flooring
Rubber flooring is made from recycled tyres, and is quite durable and sturdy. It also acts as a powerful sound barrier between floors. Other advantages of rubber floors are that they are water-, fire-, and burn-resistant.
Rubber floors are best-suited for kitchens, laundry rooms and bathrooms. They tend to give off an odour so they are not recommended for children’s rooms and nurseries.
Sisal carpets are the favourite of the environmentally-conscious. They are made from the leaves of sisal which is an agave plant grown in the deserts of Latin America and Africa. The leaves are harvested by hand and no pesticides are used for commercial cultivation.
Sisal carpets are thin and sturdy. They are very easy to maintain and are hypo-allergenic. They do not trap allergens and do not provide a favourable environment for the growth of dust mites.
Seagrass carpets are made from an underwater plant found in abundance in Asia. The fibres are quite thick and make tough carpets. The backing is usually made from urethane or latex.
The fibre does not hold dyes and hence retains its natural brown-green colour, reminiscent of its aquatic origins.
There are other green options too in carpeting that the discerning consumers can consider.
Carpets made from abaca are popular in several parts of the world. Abaca is a distant cousin of the banana plant and is commonly grown in the Philippines.
The fibres are strong and resilient, and produce sturdy and 100% organic rugs. Carpet weaving is a traditional craft which is a source of livelihood for several communities.
Coir carpets and mats are made from the husk of coconuts. The fibre is long-lasting and requires less-to-no maintenance. Coir mats are best suited for outdoor use. They trap dust and dirt but do not become a breeding ground for bacteria or fungi.
Bamboo floors are sustainable, green and eco-friendly. Bamboo belongs to the grass family but is hard and sturdy like hardwood. The grass or the bamboo plant grows to maturity in three-to-five years, making the flooring sustainable and eco-friendly. The flooring is biodegradable, and thus does not contribute to the growing landfills.
Bamboo floors are light, easy to maintain, and come in a variety of hues suitable for almost any décor.
Linoleum flooring is making a comeback and is gracing the pages of interior décor glossies once again.
Linoleum is biodegradable, eco-friendly, affordable and easy to maintain. It also comes in a wide variety of colours and textures, making it a favourite among cost-conscious homeowners.
Linoleum should not be confused with vinyl flooring. Vinyl is made from chlorinated petrochemicals and other harmful components. Linoleum is made from 100% natural materials like linseed oil, cork dust, wood flour, rosin (a tree resin), limestone and other natural pigments.
Linoleum floors are water-resistant and anti-microbial. They are best suited for family rooms, kitchens and dining halls.
P.E.T Berber Carpet
Polyester berber carpets are made from recycled plastic. Plastic is highly dangerous to the environment when it ends up in landfills. It is not biodegradable and is the major cause of pollution of natural resources.
P.E.T Berber carpets are made from recycled bottle caps and tires. Recycling these materials diminishes their need to be manufactured again and also keeps them out of landfills.
Polyester berber carpets have excellent stain-resistant properties. Quality professional care ensures the long life of these carpets, thus making it a wise buy.
There are numerous flooring options for the earth-conscious consumer. Consult an expert, flip through the interior décor magazines or browse the Web to get inspiration and ideas. There are plenty of clean, green and aesthetic flooring options in the market to keep you happy.