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Sustainability

Making a commitment to environmentalism means more than recycling; it means taking responsibility for the entire lifecycle of a product - from cradle to cradle.

As a leader in the carpet and rug industry, Karastan holds a position of environmental responsibility that it takes seriously. Our efforts to use sustainable ingredients, preserve natural resources, and repurpose excess are continual. We strive to develop responsible solutions and willingly plan ahead to optimize improvement in all areas of environmental stewardship. In keeping with these principles, we aggressively research, develop, and employ new ways of preserving our planet and of producing products that improve the health and comfort of your home.

Weaving plays an important environmental role since woven carpets and rugs last twice as long as those that are tufted. Increasing longevity by 200% reduces energy consumption by 50% and keeps woven products out of landfills 14 to 21 years beyond conventional floor coverings.

Karastan’s woven wool products, when compared to tufted, last so long that one cycle--and perhaps even two cycles--of carpet replacement are curbed. As a result, the environmental footprint of wovens is up to one-half less than that of ordinary products.

Woven Carpets

Karastan weaves its carpets on Wilton, Axminster and patented Kara-Loc® looms. Over the past five years, the efficiencies of these looms have been enhanced to save additional energy, time and money. These benefits, combined with the exceptional longevity of woven carpets, make the environmental footprint of these products up to one-half that of conventional floorcoverings.

Karastan offers more environmental attributes in the carpets it weaves with wool. Wool is a sustainable and biodegradable fiber that is naturally hardwearing and beautiful. By nature, wool is known to be dirt and soil resistant, fire retardant, and non-allergenic. For more on the many features and benefits of wool, visit Karastan Wools.

Woven Rugs

Rugs woven on Karastan’s Axminster looms integrate a cotton foundation and wool pile with a woven-through-the-back construction that is so durable it can be passed on for generations—and kept out of landfills.

Since the weave of a Karastan Axminster rug is inherently strong, the need for a secondary backing is eliminated. This benefit preserves the energy and raw material required to produce a typical latex backing, and maintains the natural integrity of the rug.

All Karastan Axminster rugs are made of wool, one of the world’s most environmentally friendly fibers. Aside from its renewable and biodegradable qualities, wool is naturally resistant to dirt and soiling, fire retardant and built to last. Karastan Wools also have the ability to absorb indoor air contaminants, contributing to a healthier and more comfortable home.

A growing number of organizations are putting together guidelines for CRI Green Label and Green Label Plus, LEED for Home and NAHB Green Home Building.

Karastan’s woven wool products, when compared to tufted, last so long that one cycle--and perhaps even two cycles--of carpet replacement are curbed. As a result, the environmental footprint of wovens is up to one-half less than that of ordinary products.

LEED for Homes

The LEED for Homes Green Building Rating System, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is a project-based system for designing, constructing, operating and certifying the world’s greenest homes. Homes certified as meeting LEED criteria are safer, healthier, more comfortable and more durable than standard homes. They have lower energy and water bills, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fewer problems with mold, mildew and other indoor toxins.

LEED: Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design

LEED for Homes provides national consistency in defining the features of a green home and enables builders anywhere in the country to obtain a green rating on their home. The LEED for Homes Rating System measures the overall performance of a home in eight categories: Innovation & Design Process (ID), Location and Linkages (LL), Sustainable Site (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy and Atmosphere (EA), Materials & Resources (MR), Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) and Awareness and Education (AE). The system awards points for each category, which contribute to a total level of performance indicated by four progressive LEED levels—Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.

CRI Green Label

All Karastan carpets are Green Label Plus certified and all KaraStep cushions carry the Green Label.

CRI’s Green Label program tests for and certifies low emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from carpets, cushions and adhesives. Green Label Plus products exceed standard compliance by passing low-emitting criteria for six additional chemicals and by undergoing annual testing.

The Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI) is the first organization within the soft floorcovering sector to earn accreditation as a certification body for indoor air quality by the American National Standard Institute (ANSI).

NAHB Green Home Building

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) has guidelines for building sustainable, environmentally friendly homes. There are three different levels of green building available to builders wishing to use the NAHB guidelines to rate their projects—Bronze, Silver and Gold. At all levels, a minimum number of points are required, of which Karastan carpets and cushions can contribute.

Karastan + NAHB Green Home Building

There are three different levels of green building available to builders wishing to use the NAHB guidelines to rate their projects—Bronze, Silver and Gold. Karastan carpets and cushions can help builders attain point values by contributing to several NAHB Green Homes Building guiding principles.

Under each section is a list of Karastan products that may provide points:

2.4.1 Use Recycled-Content Materials
Minimum of two types required for 3 points, after that additional points are awarded for each item up to a maximum of 6.
KaraStep Natural carpet cushion / KaraStep Causal carpet cushion

2.6.1 Use Renewable Materials
Minimum of two types required for 3 points, after that additional points are awarded for each item up to a maximum of 5. Karastan wool carpets / Karastan SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer / KaraStep Natural carpet cushion

5.1.6 Indoor Environmental Quality
Install carpet and carpet pad that holds Green Label Plus or Green Label from Carpet and Rug Institute’s indoor air quality testing program. All Karastan carpets / KaraStep Natural carpet cushion / KaraStep Casual carpet cushion
* Any adhesives used during installation must be Green Label equivalent.
renewably sourced polymer / KaraStep Natural carpet cushion

7.1.1 Made in ISO 14001 Facility
Minimum 10% of total materials used in a home must be produced by ISO 14001 facilities. Karastan woven wool carpets

The attached documents provide specifics on all Karastan’s bio-based products, which can be used to help builders achieve points towards a NAHB Green Building rating.

Finding better ways of doing things makes good business sense. For Karastan, our motivation for improvement goes far beyond financial and productive gains to embrace our global society. We consider the social and environmental implications of all our decisions and employ responsible solutions that support the well-being of our co-workers, our community, and our world.

Sugar Valley Wetlands

At our Sugar Valley, Georgia facility, a change in the laws meant that we could not build another septic tank. So we took a radical, new approach to dealing with our wastewater. We installed a small aerobic treatment unit that uses microbes to break down the waste and constructed two wetland fields through which the wastewater flows to filter out phosphorous, nitrogen and other nutrients. By the time the water moves through the final polishing field, it is pristine.

Dalton Utilities

Partnering with our suppliers to find non-polluting components and introduce them into our processes has paid off. Recently, Dalton Utilities contacted us because it uses treated wastewater to irrigate one of the nation’s largest land application forested systems. The 9,200 acres, which has 900,000 trees that are more than a foot in diameter, naturally filters out phosphorous and nitrogen before they reach the aquifer and the river.

However, phosphorous has a long life in the soil and was rapidly building up. Dalton Utilities asked the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist with its large industrial customers to find cost-efficient ways to reduce phosphorous in their waste streams.

Karastan immediately took action and went well beyond the requirements for environmental compliance to eliminate toxins. Our hazardous waste generation is so low at our manufacturing facilities that most are exempted from reporting under Federal regulations.

Carpet Cores

At Karastan, preserving our natural resources is serious business. That is why we exceeded the industry standard to create carpet cores made out of durable plastic rather than cardboard. The change might seem like a small thing; however, once we made the switch, we found that small things can quickly add up.

For one thing, the durable plastic cores─made by mixing and then extruding our carpet-edge trim, soft drink bottle caps, and the stretch film that comes as shrink-wrapping on pallets─have three times the life span of the old cardboard ones. And unlike the cardboard cores, which sometimes break, the plastic cores do not damage the carpet. Once they are no longer viable, the plastic cores are ground up and recycled into new ones. Not only does this preserve one of our most valuable natural resources─trees─it also helps reduce landfill waste.

Repurposed Excess

Karastan works hard to eliminate waste. One of the ways we accomplish this is by recycling our leftover carpet yarns, selvedge trim, latex, yarn, paper tubes, copper, metal and more. The scraps are bundled and repurposed into useful products, like carpet cushion, thus keeping millions of pounds of waste out of our landfills.

In addition to utilizing our own post-industrial waste, we also recycle consumer plastic soda and water bottles to make polyester fiber.

KaraStep Natural
One of Karastan’s most recent introductions is KaraStep Natural an eco-friendly cushion made from post-industrial wool waste. This natural layer of protection blocks stains and odors, reduces noise, prevents mold and mildew and minimizes moisture. Creative eco-solutions, like KaraStep Natural, go beyond the mill to benefit “green” home building by contributing to LEED and NAHB points.

New uses for leftover yarns are always being considered. As we plan ahead, these ideas─and many more─are thoroughly researched before they are deemed responsible solutions.

Everstrand™ P.E.T.
P.E.T stands for polyethylene terephthalate, also known as polyester. What makes Karastan’s Everstrand™ P.E.T. polyester unique is the fact that it is made from recycled plastic soda and water bottles. Truckloads of water and soda bottles are brought to our Summerville, Georgia plant. We sort, ground, wash and extrude the plastic into polyester fiber that is then transformed into beautiful carpet. And we don’t stop there. About 20% of what we get along with the bottles includes other plastics, which we sort, clean and sell to outside recyclers.

Karastan carpet styles made from 100% Everstrand PET Polyester include Firenze and Delacourt.

We realize that what we do impacts our biosphere. That is why we are always on the lookout for ways to use sustainable products and practices.

Wool

The New Zealand wool that is woven into Karastan carpets and rugs is unique. Not only because it is inherently natural, beautiful and sustainable, but because it is grown and processed in ways that help preserve the environment.

Through Karastan’s partnership with Wools of New Zealand, we are able to trace the origin of our wool back to the farm. We know the environment where it is grown, the land management and farming techniques used by the growers and the practices of the wool scourers. Once the pure, white fiber is received, we spin, dye and weave it ourselves—controlling quality and inciting environmental stewardship at every stage.

All the New Zealand wool Karastan uses is cleaned by a scourer that meets stringent Environmental Choice New Zealand specifications. This high standard of environmental excellence greatly contributes towards the eco-friendliness of the final product.

SMARTSTRAND® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer

Partnering with our suppliers to find non-polluting components and introduce them into our processes has paid off. Recently, Dalton Utilities contacted us because it uses treated wastewater to irrigate one of the nation’s largest land application forested systems. The 9,200 acres, which has 900,000 trees that are more than a foot in diameter, naturally filters out phosphorous and nitrogen before they reach the aquifer and the river.

However, phosphorous has a long life in the soil and was rapidly building up. Dalton Utilities asked the Pollution Prevention Assistance Division (P2AD) of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to assist with its large industrial customers to find cost-efficient ways to reduce phosphorous in their waste streams.

Karastan immediately took action and went well beyond the requirements for environmental compliance to eliminate toxins. Our hazardous waste generation is so low at our manufacturing facilities that most are exempted from reporting under Federal regulations.

Carpet Cores

Karastan continually employs new ways of “living” green. Included in its most recent initiatives is SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer. Carpets made from DuPont™ Sorona® have stain resistance, durability, softness and easy maintenance benefits that are built right into the fiber. These smart attributes are even more brilliant when you consider that 37% of the Sorona® polymer comes from renewable resources.

For every 7 yards of SmartStrand® with DuPont Sorona®, renewably sourced polymer purchased, enough energy is saved to equal one gallon of gasoline.

The production of the Sorona® polymer requires 30% less energy.

The production of DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer also reduces CO2 emissions by 63% over the production of an equal amount of nylon 6.>

37% of SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer is produced with readily available agricultural materials that include corn sugars.

SmartStrand® with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer has built in stain protection – not a topical treatment. Therefore, it will never wear off or diminish – Even after years of repeated cleanings

Excellent colorfastness properties, which resist fading and are covered by Karastan’s 10 year Color Fast Warranty.

Durability that is backed by Karastan’s exclusive Lifetime Limited Manufacturing Defects Warranty along with a 10 year Limited Texture Retention and 15 year Limited Abrasive Wear warranties.

Karastan SmartStrand® carpets made with DuPont™ Sorona® renewably sourced polymer are CRI Green Label Plus certified for low emissions.

All Karastan wools are Clean Air Certified. This means they have gone through rigorous certification testing to meet strict standards for VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions. In addition, these tests go a step further to prove that Karastan wools actively remove contaminants from the indoor air, thus making breathing areas safer and healthier.

Wool Improves Indoor Air Quality

The buildup of indoor air contaminants has been a growing concern since the 1970's. It was then that energy conservation methods were introduced, which minimized the flow of outside air into homes and buildings. Less access to outside air increases the concentration of contaminants in an indoor space, making the air unhealthy...even toxic.

Although many materials, including carpet, pass tests for minimum VOC emissions, wool goes a giant step further by absorbing the contaminants irreversibly in its structure, improving the quality of indoor air.

Wool is a natural fiber that has the ability to absorb indoor contaminants, including formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, and lock them into its core without re-releasing them. As such, wool improves indoor air and creates healthier working and living environments.

VOC

Health Effects Volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) in indoor air have received considerable public health attention in recent years. The build-up of indoor pollutants has been linked with sick building syndrome, the effects of which can be costly in terms of reduced productively and increased absenteeism.

At high enough concentrations, VOCs can cause eye, nose and throat irritation, as well as aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms. In worst-case scenarios, some VOCs can cause neurological disorders, organ failure and even cancer.

The most common indoor pollutants include combustion products, such as formaldehyde, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These and other VOCs are emitted from products we associate with everyday: wood resins, paints, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment and craft materials including glues, adhesives and permanent markers.

How Wool Works

The complex chemistry of wool fiber enables it to bind pollutant gases chemically in its structure. It has been estimated that wool carpet can continue purifying indoor air for up to 30 years.

New Zealand researchers, using a controlled environmental chamber, have demonstrated that wool carpet can reduce high levels of introduced formaldehyde to virtually zero in four (4) hours.

Studies by the US Gas Research Institute, which compared 35 building and furnishing materials, also showed that wool carpets have one of the highest removal rates of nitrogen dioxide. In contrast, the removal rate of synthetic carpets was less than half that of wool.

Research by the Environmental and Medical Sciences Division of the UK Atomic Energy Research Establishment has shown that large amounts of sulphur dioxide are also irreversibly absorbed by wool carpets.

Furthermore, wool carpet was shown to retain the gases when heated, as would occur with underfloor central heating, while nylon carpet, which absorbed nitrogen dioxide to a considerably lesser extent, also re-emitted it more readily.

Please check thewww.woolcleanair.comwebsite for additional information.