The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is one of the major guiding forces of the carpet industry. One of the responsibilities
under its umbrella is spreading awareness of the accountability of the carpet industry regarding environmental concerns. The
CRI has been urging its members to develop a proven commitment and adopt a positive approach toward environmental hazards and
the manufacturing of carpet.
The process of manufacturing many types of carpet and area rugs necessitates large quantities of water and energy. These
were the areas first addressed by the CRI. The industry has made significant strides in this direction, some of the successes
- A reduction in water consumption of 30%
- Reduction of energy by more productive energy management
- Major reduction in air pollutants and green–house gas emissions
- Reduced dependence on "dirty fuels" and increased use of renewable energy
In addition, the question of disposal of post–consumer carpets has been aggressively tackled. This initiative has
been taken on by manufacturers and other organizations such as the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE), of which the CRI is
an active participant.
The result has been an annual recovery of 225 million pounds of post–consumer carpet from the 5 billion pounds
produced each year. This post–consumer carpet would normally have reached landfills. These 225 million pounds are
recycled into alternative products such as building materials, auto parts and new carpet tiles. The use of such recycled
products in the building industry carries a high rating under the standards of the US Green Building Council.
Other areas that have been addressed are the recovery of unusable fiber and yarn for use in products other than carpets,
and finding alternative use for waste trimmings. Polythene packaging, cardboard, paper, aluminum, yarn cones, wooden pallets,
liquid containers etc., are all being salvaged for reuse or for recycling.
An initiative of the CRI in collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Consumer Product Safety
Commission (CPSC) is the Green Label Program. The program encourages the manufacture to produce eco–friendly carpet.
These are distinguished by testing emission levels in carpet, pad and adhesive. Approval is granted and the product "Green
Label certified" when the amount of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) emitted by the carpet are deemed harmless.