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The power of the people must come into play for carpet recycling effort to bump to the next level, outgoing director says Listen up people: The next time you tear out old carpet, think before you put it out for the trash collector and send it to a landfill where it will pollute the planet until the end of time. There are now more than 100 carpet recycling collection companies in the United States, and it’s easy to find out if there’s one near you. Just ask Georgina Sikorski.  At the time she took charge of the Carpet America Recycling Effort (CARE) in 2009, CARE had diverted 1 billion pounds of carpet from landfills. Today, that number is more than 2 billion, and although Sikorski is leaving her post in April, she says that number will keep going up – if you do your part. “People can quickly determine if there is a collector in their region by going to the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) map, which has contact information for the over  100 Certified CARE Collectors,”  Sikorski, says.

Unique accent walls and backsplashes are a natural fit for some flooring stores I wasn’t looking for tile, mosaics or recycled glass when I went to the flooring store. But there was something magnetic about the eye-catching colors and textures on display. This is a flooring store, I thought, but look at all of the options they offer for backsplashes and walls! And virtually every manufacturer offers something with recycled glass or recycled content , and tile is indoor-air friendly, too. Okay, walls and floors must complement each other, so it makes sense to sell them together, particularly for bathrooms. But when there are so many cool options, how do you choose?

Natural Interiors® Designers’ Forum sees increase in “green” cabinet suppliers In the beginning, there was one visible “green” cabinet company.  In 1998, we called them, in Portland, OR, if we wanted wood kitchen cabinets that emitted fewer chemicals in our homes. But many of us had to settle for traditional cabinets. Shipping costs to the Midwest or east drove the cost of these cabinets beyond our reach. Today, a handful of companies are trying to fill the void, and Midwestern kitchen designers who are trending natural have more choices.

Greater Cincinnati’s Annual Home & Garden show proves “green” products are here to stay, but knowledge of trends and environmental attributes is still playing catch up There was a time not too long ago when we had to search to find “green” products and companies at the annual Greater Cincinnati Home & Garden Show. But these days, you have to search hard to find exhibiting companies that don't have some claim to being “green.” Even when I was sure I had found one on opening day, I was wrong. There is nothing, I was sure, of environmental note about the slot machines on display by Gambler's Oasis. But then I learned that this business buys machines that are about to be discarded, refurbishes them, and sells them for use in home game rooms.

Natural Interiors® Designers' Forum spotlights new look for old furniture from Sterling Interiors By now, everyone has seen artwork and other creations made from trash, or worn out objects that were about to become trash. But when was the last time you saw one and seriously considered it useful? Can’t remember? Then it’s time to take a closer look at a growing interior design trend called “upcycling.” It’s not quite the same thing as “restoring,” or “refinishing” as upcycling usually gives a worn out piece of furniture a different look than it had before, along with a whole new, useful life. While this helps the planet by reducing waste, concern for the planet is not the top force driving demand for upcycled products.

Studies that show what “fringe,” green proponents warned of all along are an overdue validation of the environmental products industry I distinctly remember a small group of co-workers who voiced concerns that the windows did not open while everyone else was extolling the beauty of the newly constructed newsroom we worked in, complete with new cubicles, new computers, carpeting, paint, ceiling tiles and everything else that makes up a building’s interior. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) had not been created yet. Employees who raised questions about indoor-air quality were “strange,” possibly unbalanced.  You could have heard a pin drop when one of them asked what I now know was a very natural question: “Does the ventilation system bring fresh air into our work area?” Natural or not, the managers responded as though the question bordered on insubordination. Accordingly, it would have been beyond insane had the employee suggested that toxins in the indoor air be scientifically measured or a control group of employees be selected to have blood tests to determine what chemicals they were being exposed to.

A style for every room As Designer Candace Olson shows us in this video, today's cork floors don't look like bulletin boards. Rather, the looks range from that of hardwood planks to mosiac tiles. And cork is suitable in almost any room environment.

Requirements for damp basements might challenge use of all natural, chemical free carpet pads Q. I want to put carpet that has low chemical emissions in my basement. I also had planned on using a natural fiber carpet pad. I have not ever had water leak into the basement, but there is some moisture, due simply to the fact that it is a room below ground level. Do natural fiber carpet pads hold up to moisture and would it be better to use a sheet of plastic as a vapor barrier under the carpet pad? A. Installing carpet in the basement you describe requires a moisture- and mildew-resistant carpet pad, which will be glued in some spots to the basement’s cement floor. Putting a vapor barrier under the carpet pad would allow the pad to move and bunch up in spots under your carpet, which is not desirable. If the basement does not leak, my usual recommendation would be a ½-inch rebond or rubber pad that is water-resistant and treated with an antimicrobial agent to prevent mold and mildew. If you were looking to install laminate or any hard surface floating floor, a vapor barrier would be needed.