So Long And Thanks For All The Microfibers: How To Choose Flooring That's Good For The Fish

Posted on: 22 January 2015

If you live far from the beach, it may seem strange to learn that any of your habits have an impact on ocean life. But they do. There are maps showing the swirling islands of plastic debris that form out of the waste that washes down into the ocean from stream and river runoff. But the real problems are created by microfibers in the rivers, lakes and oceans.

Here's what you should know when you select flooring for your home:

Reducing microfibers is good for you and the fish.

Today there are areas of the earth's vast seas where there are 60x more plastic particles than plankton. When fish, whales and other sea creatures swallow these tiny microfibers and micro-beads their stomachs become full but the contents provide no nutrition.

From the Great Lakes to Germany's lakes microfibers are clouding the waters and faking the fish, birds, insects and ocean mammals into eating them rather than eating real food. Many die from malnutrition with bellies stuffed to the gills in plastic.

Guess what? You eat those fish if you enjoy seafood. And the same microfibers clogging up whales' bellies can clog up your septic system and negatively impact your local wildlife.

Microfibers are used in carpeting and floor coatings.

Any acrylic or nylon carpet will shed microfibers. But even wool carpets and other flooring types may have microfiber coatings.

Various vinyl and other flooring manufacturers use plastic products in their processing methods, and the runoff flows into waste treatment facilities that can't screen out the particles.

Ocean-safe flooring materials are available.

From reclaimed wood to cork to sisal, you do have microfiber-free flooring choices that are both attractive and renewable. Just be sure to recycle any plastic packaging. Tile, bamboo and stone are also good choices, especially if you can obtain them without any plastic wrapping.

The best choice may be reclaimed wood flooring. There are upscale choices in re-purposed rare woods or you can re-purpose boards yourself from old barns and buildings.

Avoid floor coatings and cleaners that contain microfibers. Install a special filter on your washing machine to trap microfibers from your machine-washable carpets.

Various industries - from clothing plants to carpet makers to washing machine manufacturers - blame one another for the microfiber problem, but the truth is we are all to blame.

Bans on micro-beads are already in place or are in the process of being adopted in some locales. There may soon be bans on more types of microfibers. Stay ahead of the curve and help the fishies at the same time by choosing flooring that isn't made with microfibers.

Your flooring store professionals will help you source and select marine-life-friendly products that are safe for you, too.