Adventures in Ethical Consumerism

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Healthy floors

I've been thinking about replacing the nasty, old carpet in my living room. It's ugly, it's a haven for dust-mites (which I'm allergic to), and I suspect it may be giving off various noxious fumes as well.

Has anyone out there tried cork flooring? It seems this is an option that can be both healthy and ethical. According to Ethical Consumer magazine, "As a flooring, cork can be an excellent choice... it retains its elasticity and reduces sound and is comfortable to walk on... it doesn't absorb dust and so is less likely to cause allergies." They recommend buying non-PVC coated cork flooring and sealing it yourself with low VOC (volatile organic compound) varnish.

Ethical Consumer also states: "[Cork] is a good environmental choice because, not only is it natural and requiring little energy to produce, no trees are actually cut down to harvest it. Instead, the cork is stripped off the trees which are then left for nine years, allowing the cork to grow back completely... Cork forests in Spain Portugal and Tunisia are home to a variety of endangered wildlife including the imperial eagle and barbery deer. Unfortunately, they're also under threat because the demand for cork stoppers for wine has declined as the popularity for plastic corks has increased."

If you have any tips to share, please email me or post a comment below.

To find out more about floors, check out the Healthy Flooring Network.


  • I've always thought bamboo flooring was a nice idea. It looks like regular wood floors but has the same advantages of cork.

    Definitely get rid of that carpet. The only good thing that can be said about it is that it was probably done offgassing VOC's in its first year ;) Other than that, get rid of it.

    You may also want to look into places that recycle carpet fibers.

    Good luck!

    By Blogger j&c, at 5:54 AM  

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