living area with carpet made from corn, all about wall to wall carpeting
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Greener Options

Reduced emissions: Everyone knows that unpleasant "newcarpet" smell. The good news is that formaldehyde hasn't been used in the manufacturing process for years. But carpets, backings, and pads are made of hundreds of different chemicals that can affect the allergy-prone and chemically sensitive. To reduce exposure, purchase carpeting and pads that carry The Carpet and Rug Institute's Green Label Plus seal, which certifies that the products emit low levels of VOCs. With proper ventilation, VOCs fall to very low levels within three days after installation. Be aware that the certification process doesn't evaluate the safety of chemicals used in stain treatments and flame retardants, so if that's of concern, go for a wool carpet that doesn't have either of these.
Eco-friendly material: Many carpets and pads now contain recycled or renewable content. Some polyester ones, like Shaw's ClearTouch, incorporate recycled plastic bottles. Triexta (shown), a polyester polymer, is made from 37 percent corn ethanol, a sustainable resource. Certain nylon fibers can be reused over and over again in new carpeting, though currently there isn't enough recovered material to make this option widely available.
Recycling programs: Check to see if your retailer will recycle your old carpet pulled out by the installer (the fee is typically built into the installation cost). You can also find a recycling center near you on carpetrecovery.org, but you'll pay about 5 cents to 25 cents per pound of carpet.

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