Can Rugs Help Clean Up Our Oceans?

General Interest

Posted by: Ryan Malone

25 May 2022

It has been estimated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into our oceans each year. From the smallest of organisms to the largest of whales, plastics are killing over a million different living creatures each year, a number that is rising at an alarming rate. It is currently thought that there are over 100 million tonnes of plastic in our oceans and if we don’t make a change now it may end up being too late.


In order to battle this epidemic, rug designers are taking a stand and have started to manufacture ranges using recycled plastic bottles. These eco-friendly rugs are manufactured using up to 3,000 recycled plastic bottles, solving two problems in one: removing plastic waste from landfill and our oceans, plus generating a material that would often, for this type of rug, use oil by-products (polyester, polypropylene and acrylic) and a result reducing the need for the extraction of fossil fuels.

One tonne of plastic waste equates to around 36,000 standard bottles so for every 12 of these rugs produced, a tonne of plastic waste is removed from our oceans or prevented from being there in the first place. This might sound like just a drop in the ocean (excuse the pun!) but every small step makes a difference, and the end result is a stylish rug for your home.

The Clover range by Asiatic – available in silver, blue, dark grey and blush pink.

One of the first rugs launched using this concept was the Solitaire range, part of the Luxmi Collection by Flair Rugs. This range is made from a mix of recycled plastics and silks. Flair have used the latest techniques in recycling to turn the plastic waste into yarn which is then dyed and spun together with recycled silk, creating a stunning Scandi style hand-tufted rug. The Solitaire range will not only look amazing in your home but it will also give you a sense of fulfilment knowing that your rug was created with care and compassion for our planet in mind.

Luxmi Solitaire Beau Rug recycled plastic bottles
The Luxmi Solitaire Beau Multi Rug – also available in grey and natural/duck egg.

Another designer that is making the big change is Think Rugs, with their Oslo and Repreve ranges. The Repreve range especially is part of a larger plan making a huge difference to the oceans and landfill. Repreve is the world’s leading, recycled performance fibre and is a product of Unifi. Unifi were founded in 1971 by George Allen Mebane IV, the great-great-grandson of a cotton mill owner. Melbane started his Repreve factories in 2007 and since then they have turned more than 17 billion recycled plastic bottles into fabric that can be used for the manufacture of many products from rugs, to bags, fashion, swimwear, car interiors and . Think Rugs created this range earlier in 2019 using Repreve fabrics, so each rug is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles and every square meter saves over 100 plastic bottles from being dumped into oceans or landfill. Meaning that this soft, shaggy rug is not only a beautiful addition to your home but plays a part in helping to save our planet.

Repreve Rug
The Repreve Grey Rug – also available in Ivory

If we continue to live the way that we are, scientists believe that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. It is not only sea-life that will be affected by this, there are also thousands of species of land animals that rely on the ocean as a source of food such as birds, bears, etc. meaning that many species could become extinct. However, it is not just animals that rely on the ocean, over 10% of Earth’s population (that’s over 750 million people) rely on the ocean as their primary food source, meaning that if we don’t make a change there will be an rise in famine and preventable illnesses throughout the world. Scientists have found that increasing numbers of microplastics, which are microscopic shards of plastic, are starting to make their way into not only our food chain, but the air we breath. As the years go by we will be breathing in more and more plastic – who is to say what damage this could cause.

It may only seem like a small change, however it’s differences like these that are going to make a massive change in the long run. Human-kind as a species need to start to clean up our oceans or the world as we know it won’t be around for future generations, rugs like these are a painless and stylish way of helping stop the decline.

View our full collection of eco-friendly rugs.

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