Carpets with a conscience

Ray Sharma

Buying Administrator, Floor coverings

Eco-conscious carpets

Just as with other products, we’re finding that customers are conscious of the environmental impact of their floor covering choices. Accordingly, we now have  a number of exceptional products, chosen not only for their low carbon footprint, but also sustainability. Carpets, wood flooring and Marmoleum have all been carefully selected to allow you more choice.

One of our carpet ranges uses wool sourced from the Lakeland Herdwick sheep, native to the Lake District for over 1000 years. The use of Herdwick wool within the range helps to sustain the population of Herdwick sheep and therefore safeguard the future of this breathtaking part of our country.

The Herdwick breed plays a vital role in this; for example, their strong territorial behaviour reduces the need for fences. They graze on heather and grass evenly, helping to keep the beautiful landscape (a candidate for world heritage site status) for everyone to enjoy. A less hardy breed of sheep unable to withstand the extreme weather at an altitude of 3000 feet would wander off in search of grass, and in doing so impact less favourably on the Lake District landscape!

The Lakeland Herdwick range, (from £32 per square metre in our shops), is the only textured loop pile carpet to use Herdwick wool. This exceptional carpet is a 100% British wool product, helping to support a sustainable future for British farmers. It’s highly durable, thanks to the natural resilience of Herdwick, and the fact that the materials used are sourced and manufactured wholly in the UK decreases its carbon footprint.

We also have carpets made from Coir, Jute and Seagrass as part of the Alternative Carpets range with prices from £13 per square metre (sold in our shops). These products are natural, sustainable materials, helping the economies of rural communities around the globe. 

Coir is made from the strong fibres of the coconut husk found in Kerala, India. The natural fibres are removed by hand and softened in sea water, so that they can be woven. Jute gives a tweedy look and is soft underfoot. It comes from stalk of the giant corchorus plants, grown in southern India. The natural fibres are finer in 

texture, making Jute more suitable than coir for “relaxing rooms” like living or bedrooms. Seagrass grows in the tropical climates of China and Vietnam, in coastal meadows on riverbanks. The natural fibre is harvested by hand, dried and hand spun into cords before being woven into flooring.

Even with our underlay, you have a choice of eco-friendly products. John Lewis Blue Crumb (£6.95 per square metre in our shops), is made from recycled rubber material. John Lewis Jute felt underlay is constructed from jute and cashmere guard wool. Wool and jute give are extremely hardwearing, and at the same time these underlays use recycled fibres normally destined for landfill.

For natural wood floorings, again we have a broad choice, offering FSC-certified wood, tracking the supply chain to protect endangered species and rainforests. We also have natural oil and pH-neutral products to maintain and enhance our natural wood products.

Cleaning and maintenance is important to protect your investment, so here are a few tips for spillages and accidents. Time is of the essence, so quickly isolate the damaged area by gently blotting most of the spillage using newspaper or kitchen towel. Mix a small amount of mild cleaning liquid in water and gently work from the outside edge of the stain inwards. More stubborn marks can be removed using cleaning kit, but if in doubt contact a professional carpet cleaner.