Q: We are currently finishing our basement and we plan to complete our renovation using recycled, non-toxic materials whereever possible. We are now in the process of choosing the flooring material and would prefer to lay carpet.
Is there a particular material that would be more environmentally friendly? I recently saw in one of my magazines that there is carpet available made of recycled materials but I do not recall where it's available. Also, are you aware of a place that will accept old carpet as well?
-- Jim, Surrey
A: A number of carpet manufacturers now offer eco-friendly options that improve indoor air quality and are considered more environmentally sustainable.
Shaw Carpets manufactures a recycled-content carpet (old carpet is taken back and recycled into new carpet). The manufacturing of recycled-content carpet produces fewer emissions. This carpet is comparable in price to conventional carpet and is now available through many flooring retailers. In the Surrey area you can check out Exclusive Floors at www.flooringbc.com.
As for getting rid of your old carpet: In B.C., most recycling seems to be limited to carpet with little wear that can be reused, but there are a number of places in the U.S. that are recycling old, worn carpet and I suspect it will be just a matter of time before we will be able to ship our old carpet back to the manufacturer to be recycled.
Contact the Recycling Council of BC to find out the best alternatives for getting rid of building materials (www.rcbc.bc.ca).