Tuesday, June 8, 2010

6th Graders Research Carpet's Environmental Attributes

Werner Braun: 6th Graders Research Carpet's Environmental AttributesA recent article by CRI President Werner Braun that appeared in the Dalton Daily-Citizen-News tells about how several classes of sixth graders from Dalton’s Valley Point Middle School spent their year studying the carpet industry’s environmental efforts. The students’ work culminated in a 28-page magazine titled, “Rolling Out the Green Carpet - Our Projects About Environmental Issues in the Carpet Industry”.

Here are excerpts from Werner Braun's article titled "Valley Point sixth-graders research environmental attributes of carpet":

Filled with interesting articles and colorfully illustrated by the children, the publication reflects the kids’ careful research on the various subject areas - energy and water conservation, carpet (and carpet packaging) recycling, and making carpet greener by extending its useful life through proper care and maintenance.

To help with their research, the kids studied web sites from the Carpet and Rug Institute and the Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE). They also got the inside scoop from some of the carpet industry’s heaviest hitters on the environment; Dr Howard Elder, Director of Research and Environmental Affairs for J&J/Invision, and Denise Wood, Mohawk’s Director of Environmental Compliance. The children also received an unexpected surprise when Jeremy Stroop, Operations Manager for CARE, came by Valley Point and presented each student with a personalized certificate of honorary membership in the carpet recycling group.

Dalton's Valley Point 6th graders researching carpet's environmental attributesThe kids came up with some engaging ideas, like using squares of discarded carpet as beds in animal shelters, fashioning jackets out of reclaimed carpet fiber, and making bath mats out of real moss that would act like water-absorbing Chia Pets. Two inventive girls used carpet samples to construct a collection of pet products, including a scratching post and custom-designed bed.

The team of boys who studied carpet’s impact on the economy exhibited an impressive understanding of the complex economic relationship that binds Dalton and the carpet industry. Their report reads, “… Carpet is more than just something that comforts our feet. It helps provide jobs, income, products to sell, increases trade in our country, and provides choices for consumers as they search for the perfect floor.” True, indeed.

Several student teams made video documentaries of what they learned, and another group collected enough plastic water bottles to make enough polyester fiber for the carpet in a Habitat for Humanity home.

Another student surveyed Valley Point teachers and students to find out who would be willing to spend more for environmentally-responsible carpet. She was surprised to find that the vast majority of people she asked said they would be willing to go to a little extra trouble to protect the environment. “You wouldn’t think that people would pay extra money to purchase something that doesn’t affect them, but actually it does affect them,” she said. She’s right

Thanks to the kids at Valley Point for their remarkable work this year, and thank you Werner for bringing it to our attention!


Copies of “Rolling Out the Green Carpet” are available for purchase by contacting Valley Point Middle School at 706.277.9662.


Vivian said...

It is great to see kids learning about a valuable industry that is not film and entertainment, and that re-purposing is one of the best methods of recycling.

Bethany said...

Hello Vivian,
Thank you so much for your comment. We were so proud of these young people - they did such a wonderful job. We were all impressed with their maturity and understanding of complex issues. It's nice having voices from outside the carpet industry recognize all the progress the industry has made on the environment - hats off to (what I hope will be) the next generation of green carpet manufacturers!!Bethany

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