“Save the Planet” is a slogan that has been around for a while. In many cases it is easier to say than to do. On a personal level, we each do our part. For me, that meant decorating my wedding with things I could use in my home: saris that hung on tent poles now hang from windows and the runner for the wedding is now my living room rug. How does our personal need to “Save the Planet” transfer into our business need to do the same? Why is it important?

[This article originally appeared on page 21 of the April 2012 print issue of Rug News andDesign Magazine.]

Design Legacy by Kelly O'Neal Recycled Rug
Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal Recycled Rug

Kelly O’Neal of Design Legacy really summed it up nicely when I asked him why it was important to use recycled materials in his business: “One would have to live under a rock these days to be unaware of our need to conserve natural resources. Many of my customers sell recycled or green products only so we of course want to be inventive enough in the realm to keep their interest as well as creative to a point of absolute ease of use or function.” More and more consumers are becoming conscious of what they buy, where it comes from and where it will end up. Kelly made another good point about the generational difference. About how the generation of his grandparents and mine (80-100yrs old) used and reused everything and how just forty years or so later we became the most wasteful society on the planet. Kelly shared with me the fact that 31 million tons of plastic was consumed by us last year with only 8% of it being recycled.

Recycling, Going Green, upcycling… whatever term a company chooses to use, they are doing something to help change our wastefulness. As an individual it is easy to recycle, as a company making the choice to use recycled materials and recycle products is a process.


A Business started because of helping the planet

Custom Cordage, LLC came about after a lobster rope manufacturer in Maine realized that the three strand fishing rope would no longer be used under federal regulation because the northern right whale was becoming entangled in the floating line. To keep this rope out of landfill, Custom Cordage purchased about 450,000 pounds of rope. So far they have made over 30,000 pieces of Reclaimed Fishing Rope Doormats and have used up approximately 220,000 pounds of rope. You can view a picture of this mat on www.walkingthemarket.com. It was beautiful. It was reclaimed. It has a great story to it.

Companies who use products to help save the planet

Journey Trading Co. has taken to using sustainable mango wood in many of its furniture pieces. They also have two interesting rugs, one that is made from recycled t-shirts and another that is made from recycled Indian Army tarp. Dreamweavers’ entire rug lines are made from different upcycled materials. Zollanvari has been using recycled silk to make beautiful one of a kind rugs. When speaking with Sanjay of Zollanvari about why they choose to use recycled materials he responded “Ethical: recycled yarn is eco friendlier than regular yarn. No need for dyeing. The washing doesn’t need to strain natural resources as much. Aesthetic: it’s recycled pre-dyed yarn, it lends itself very nicely to give us the natural striations/gradations in color.” Amer Rugs has come out with a rug product that uses recycled wool from India. They use the excess wool which is left out in the process to create other hand-knotted and tufted products. The recycled wool is mixed with raw wool to increase the average fiber strength and avoid shedding. Nalbandian has taken vintage art deco rugs and turned them into new patchworked rugs. The rugs all held their original colors and as patchwork pieces have been turned into modern works of art. Creative Touch has taken old rugs and turned them into beautiful overdyed/patchwork rugs.

Companies whose policy it is to be a part of the solution

Design Legacy by Kelly O’Neal has partnered with manufacturers both domestically and internationally to seek the best of the genre. Domestically, they are the exclusive representatives for Goods Made Good (a Goodwill Organization focused on rehabilitation of workers or providing jobs to those challenged by the average workplace) in the home industry. They have made some beautiful rugs and furniture out of the GMG program, which are also completely American designed and manufactured.

Shaw Living's Evergreen Facility. Where rugs get recycled back into rugs.
Shaw Living’s Evergreen Facility. Where rugs get recycled back into rugs.

Shaw Living — How to sum up briefly the green initiative they have enacted to be a part of the solution… They are focused on a closed looped cycle in all their products. This means from how it was created to where it ends up. They want to be involved every step of the way. For over five years, they have focused on minimizing the impact on landfill with Cradle-to-Cradle® certification. The Shaw Nylon 6 Rug can be completely recycled into new carpet and area rugs again and again, never needing to hit the landfill. It is both recyclable and made in the USA.

Due to space limitations of this article, I could only touch upon a few of the companies out there that use recycled materials and/or make it their companies’ policy to help save the planet. To find more rug companies and to view pictures of recycled-upcycled-reused rugs, please visit us at www.rugnewsanddesign.com and enter the search term “recycled” to see more than 30 postings in this category.

[This article originally appeared on page 21 of the April 2012 print issue of Rug News andDesign Magazine.]