Sustainable Marketplace: Greener Products and Services

Identifying Greener Carpet

Carpet absorbs sound, is soft, slip-resistant and often quite beautiful. These qualities make it a common choice as a floor covering for homes and office spaces alike. But, as with any product, various impacts can occur throughout a carpet’s life cycle. Health and environmental concerns associated with carpet include indoor air quality, chemical emissions from manufacturing and disposal operations and solid waste impacts.

Over four billion pounds of carpet enter the solid waste stream in the United States every year, accounting for more than one percent by weight and about two percent by volume of all municipal solid waste (MSW).

Furthermore, the bulky nature of carpet creates collection and handling problems for solid waste operations and the variety of materials present in carpet makes it difficult to recycle. By considering a variety of attributes, from the Guides for the Use of Environmental Marketing Claims materials used to manufacture and install carpet to recycling and disposal issues, purchasers can make informed decisions about environmentally preferable carpet.

Environmental Attributes to Consider

  • Third-party environmental certifications
  • Low or no volatile organic compounds (VOC's)
  • Safer dyes, backing and adhesives
  • Recycled-content
  • End-of-Life take back programs from the manufacturer

How to Buy

Environmentally preferable carpet choices each have their own merits and choosing one depends on the specific need, location and use for the carpet. Some questions to consider in determining the best choice for your situation include:

Government Resources

GSA Advantage!®
GSA Advantage is the federal government's premier online shopping superstore giving you access to millions of commercial products and services available from GSA-negotiated contracts. Anyone may browse the site to view and compare the variety of products and services offered. Visit the Environmental Program Aisle search by environmental icons and limit your results to sustainable products.

King County, Washington: Environmentally Responsible Carpet Choices(PDF) (6 pp, 435 K, About PDF)Exit
Information on various environmental considerations in purchasing carpet and links to manufacturers and distributors of environmentally preferable carpet.