Pop bottle carpets: gorgeous and guilt-free

Photo: istockphoto.com/Leslie Banks
Pop Bottle Carpets are a greener way to add warmth and comfort to any room. Regular carpeting has been a notorious pollutor, filling our homes with toxic chemicals from VOC (volatile organic compounds) off-gassing and adding to already overfilled landfills. An eco-option for carpets is the new PET carpets, nicknamed as Pop Bottle Carpets because they are made from recycled plastic. Transforming pop bottles Plastic #1 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is a plastic resin and form of polyester created by combining ethylene glycol and purified terephthalic acid. It's the plastic used mostly in pop bottles but also in water, juice, peanut butter, salad dressings and oil containers. PET carpet is an excellent way to recycle the mountain of plastic pop bottles we consume. On average each Canadian drinks 111 liters of pop (29 liters) and in 2002 we threw out 383 kg of garbage (about 30 green garbage each ) which added up to 23,000 tonnes of plastic and 12 million tonnes of garbage in total. Americans throw away an astonishing 2.5 million soft drink container each hour and in 2004 the average American drank 140 liters (37 gallons) of pop. Easy to create It's a relatively straightforward process to transform that Coke bottle into carpet. Bottles are sorted, ground into fine chips, cleaned, and then melted. The liquid is then forced through molds that extrude thin fibers, which are then spun into yarn to be woven into carpets. The result is a carpet that is exceptionally durable with high colorfastness and little static electricity. Since it absorbs little moisture, it's also inherently stain-resistant. Competitively pricing adds to its overall appeal. These carpets are also considered green because their dyeing process is less polluting and they need less energy to produce than virgin carpets. Since they tend to be heavier, thicker and more luxurious than conventional nylon carpets they last longer and last much longer. Plenty of choice Mohawk Flooring has five different PET carpet lines with 28 to 36 different colours that include mauve along with various shades of green and blue. All five lines have received the Carpet and Rug Institue (CRI) Green Label guaranteeing a high standard for indoor air quality as established by the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). ClearTouch from Shaw Industry also offers a wide range of PET carpet with over 20 styles. Fun PET facts Here is some PET trivia from The National Association for PET and PET Container Recycling Europe:
  • The PET bottle was patented in 1973 by chemist Nathaniel Wyeth (brother of the American painter Andrew Wyeth).
  • The first PET bottle was recycled in 1977 into a bottle basecup
  • 1,350 recycled 3-liter bottles saves a cubic yard in a landfill
  • According to the EPA, recycling a pound of PET saves approximately 12,000 BTU's
  • Fourteen 20 oz. PET bottles will make one square foot of carpet or enough fiberfill for a jacket.
  • Sixty-three 20 oz. PET bottles will make one sweater.