Consider that a bottle takes 500 years to disintegrate; actually, we don’t know how long but 500 years is a good estimate. At this point, the United States is recycling approximately 31% of their plastic bottles. By recycling these bottles, we are ensuring a healthy environment for future generations.
If you are interested in purchasing a “green” carpet the first question you might ask is, “what is the carpet made of?”
One of the most interesting green flooring products is the recycling of plastic bottles and turning them into a carpet. Instead of them becoming waste for the landfills, P.E.T. (Polyethylene terephthalate) polyester is a derivative of recycled bottles and then converted into fibers. Although no carpet can be considered “stain proof," these fibers are inherently stain resistant and available in very vibrant colors.
The bottle grade PET has a higher quality and performance standard then the various PET grades. It also presents an opportunity to recycle this product into fibers. PET is a petroleum-based product that tends to last a long time in the landfill. It is estimated that it can take 20,000 years for conventional carpeting to degrade in a landfill and plastic bottles do not decompose for 1,000 years. According to the 2010 United States Census, the average square footage for a home is 2169 square feet; this translates into 241 square yards of carpet. Since it takes 30-40 bottles to make a square yard of carpet, a houseful of carpet saves about 7230 bottles from the landfill!
In order to be considered a renewable resource, the product must be non-petroleum based and derived from plants and animals with a harvest schedule of 10 years or less. Using these resources in a new or remodeled home reduces the negative impact that other products have on the landfills.
Another innovation is carpet made of sugar derived from corn. The product is made by breaking down the corn kernels and turning them into corn starch. The corn used is animal feed corn, or as they used to call it, “cow corn.” The corn starch is polymerized into a bio-plastic. The polymers are forced through an extruder which produces a hair-like fiber. These polymers are then spun into yarns. This fiber can be extremely soft while still retaining good resiliency and stain resistant.