When referring to “green carpet pads,” we’re referencing carpet pads that are “environmentally friendly.” While it has become trendy to “go green” when it comes to all our choices as consumers, there is a much greater implication than just being able to claim you have reduced your carbon footprint.
There are real consequences to the choices we make as consumers, and actively seeking out products that are better for our environment is a statement that we as a society are making a commitment to responsible and ethical choices when it comes to the products we surround ourselves with.
That being said, there has been a significant rise of products on the market in the past decade that make a claim of “being green” that may not be actually better for the environment or even healthier for us in any way, and that may even be of an inferior quality.
So how do you know? Are “green carpet pads” a marketing ploy, or is it really an ecologically responsible choice that we as consumers can make to better our environment and our homes? Let’s examine some of the things that make carpet padding “green” and then you can determine if environmentally friendly carpet padding is the right choice for you to make for your home.
All There Is To Know About Environmentally Friendly Carpet Pads
Previously, when making choices for their homes, consumers only needed to strike a balance between the cost and the quality of the product. You had a set budget and aimed to get the best quality product within that budget as possible. The introduction of green products has thrown a new consideration in to play for consumers.
Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in environmentally friendly options for all of our home products, including carpet padding. Green carpet padding is now an affordable, high quality option for your home, if you know what you are looking for.
What Makes A Carpet Pad Green?
Ask what makes any product “green,” and you will get a variety of answers. Some claim that recycled material is the best choice for an environmentally friendly option. Others will argue that a product is only truly “green” if it is made of all natural products. In truth, none of these is wrong. But knowing the benefits each type of product offers will help you make the best decision for your carpet padding.
There is an argument to be made that the most environmentally friendly option would be a recycled carpet pad like this one available on Amazon. Recycled carpet pads can be made of natural fibers, rubber, or a compound of urethane. The thing to consider when purchasing a recycled carpet pad is that if it is important to you for your carpet pad to also be healthy and not just better for the environment, you may have to look for a recycled natural fiber option, as the older urethane carpet pads used to make tend to emit higher levels of VOCs.
The natural materials option for carpet pads would be those made of either natural fibers like animal hair or jute, or rubber. Natural fiber carpet pads also offer a natural reduction of bacterial growth. While most green carpet pads have some form of antimicrobial treatment applied to them before being installed, the natural fibers offer this quality naturally, without the need for any additional chemical treatments. This protects both the carpet pad and the actual carpet from bacterial growth, mold and mildew. It also means that any spillages that seep through the carpet to the carpet padding are less likely to develop an odor.
If a healthy “green” option is what you are after, hunt for “non-toxic” carpet padding. These carpet pads emit the lowest levels of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) when compared with traditional bonded urethane carpet padding. Buyer beware, however, that not all “non-toxic carpet padding” can back up that promise. It’s important to do your research before spending the additional money on a carpet padding that may be of inferior quality.
Where Do You Find Environmentally Friendly Carpet Padding?
There’s good news for the consumer who is hunting down environmentally friendly carpet padding. With the rise in demand for green products, it’s not hard to find carpet padding that claims to be environmentally conscientious. What is more difficult is determining which carpet pads on the market are actually “green” and which are just making the claim.
The best advice for making the choice on where to get your carpet padding is, as always, educate yourself. Do some research on what exactly makes the carpet padding “green” before you buy into a selling point. Is it important to you that the carpet be recycled? Or is it more important that the carpet padding be made of all natural materials? If you know what you are looking for, it will help you make the best decision.
Always follow manufacturer instructions when choosing a carpet padding. If the carpet padding is not rated for the type of carpet you have, you can void your carpet’s warranty and, worse, cause damage to your carpeting.
Does Environmentally Friendly Carpet Padding Work?
Green carpet padding offers many advantages over the more traditional forms. There are various brands available on the market today, each of which has its own unique properties and rewards to offer. Typically speaking, carpet padding that claims environmentally friendly is at least as good, and in many cases better than, traditional carpet padding.
There are additional aspects to consider when you are choosing a green carpet padding, however. For example, most of the natural fiber carpet pads made of wool or jute are not going to be rated for as heavy traffic as something like rubber.
Rubber carpet padding is far and away the best quality carpet pad you can purchase, and it is environmentally friendly, but does typically come with a significantly higher price tag per square foot.
Although slightly more expensive than traditional carpet pads, these green carpet pads are well worth looking into. They offer an environmentally friendly way of extending the life of your carpet whilst also helping you and your family to breathe easy in your own home…two great advantages for just a few dollars more.
Recycling Carpet Pads
When talking about environmentally friendly options for carpet padding, you also have to consider what to do when it is time to replace your old carpet pads. Is it really so important to recycle your carpet pad?
Foam carpet padding can be rebounded and recast to be reused as carpet padding, but most padding isn’t reusable, because it absorbs dirt, germs and odors. Some types of carpet padding will break down after several years of use, but not in a landfill. Due to the dirt, smell, and condition of used carpet padding, the recycled padding itself is used for other purposes, when it does get recycled. Recycled carpet padding can be used for many different products, including mixed fiber products like geotextiles, lumber alternatives, carpet tack strips, fiberboard, under-the-hood auto parts, and sod reinforcement.
Some fibers from carpet padding are also used to create new carpeting. All of these alternatives are much healthier for the environment and it can make you feel better about getting rid of that old, nasty carpet padding. Since, now you have an insight into where and how your old carpet may be used once you get rid of it, let’s take a look at the benefits in store for you.
Why Recycle Your Carpet Padding?
Many carpets and carpet pads are actually designed to be recycled. In carpet pads that were designed to be recycled, nearly 80 % of the materials in the product can be recycled. This may include bits of wood, fibers and metal springs.
These materials are then converted into useful products. For example, the steel springs within the carpet pad can be salvaged as metal scrap, which can then be further melted and converted into new appliances. The cotton extracted from the pad can be used for textile applications and other industrial oil fillers. The wood within the carpet pads can be used to make mulch. Recycled carpet pads are also often used to make new carpet padding!
Choosing to recycle your used carpet pad gives it new purpose and keeps it out of a landfill, and is a simple way to make a “green” choice.
How To Recycle A Carpet Pad
To find a recycling center that will take carpet padding, ask at your local carpeting or home improvement store or just look online. Many times your local carpeting store will take the padding if they have done the removal and then sell it to a carpet padding recycling center. Some stores or installers may be willing to come pick up the carpet padding for no charge so that they can bring it to the recycling center for a rebate, if you are unable to haul the padding to the center. If you are doing the removal yourself and you are willing to do the hauling to the recycling center, you will likely receive some money for the padding. Many people don’t realize that recycled carpet pad has value, so they don’t even think to check about recycling it and simply toss it out.