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Recycled Area Rugs

If you haven’t noticed by now, I like to create new items out of someone else’s junk.  Reduce, reuse, recycle, right?  Today, I’m going to show you a sampling of area rugs that have been made from other products; plastic bottles, old t-shirts, recycled yarn, old leather belts, and inner tubes from bicycles.  They are all made from either 100% recycled materials or close to 100%.


I don’t know how practical a leather belt area rug is, but isn’t it cool?  These next two indoor/outdoor Mad Mats®  rugs are reversible and made from recycled plastic bottles and packing materials. Its tubular threads absorb no stains, can easily be cleaned with a garden hose or sponge, and won’t trap water or mildew.  Seems too good to be true, right?  Well, the reviews speak for themselves and the people are pleased!



According to,  in 2007, the U.S. recycled over 4 billion pounds of plastic, which saved enough energy to heat over 2.1 million homes.  In 2011, Californians alone recycled over 16 billion beverage containers.  Producing new plastic products from recycled materials uses two-thirds less energy than making products from raw (virgin) materials.  Every time I’m at the store, that statistic will make me think twice about buying a product made from virgin materials.

Here’s a rug from Fab Habitat made from 100% recycled polypropylene.

b.b. begonia describes their rugs as:

  • Contemporary Designs. Beautiful colors.
  • Eco friendly. Made from highest grade of recycled PP (from used soda bottles, milk bottles, packing material, etc)
  • Treated with U.V inhibitors and state of art conditioners for color fastness.
  • Tightly woven tubular yarn promotes durability. Compare the weight of a b.b.begonia mat with other brands in the market.
  • Easy to Clean. The yarn does not absorb dirt or stains. Leaves, mud or food spills are easily rinsed away with water and soap.
  • Carefree and Weather proof. The rugs do not trap water, so they won’t mildew and they won’t rot wooden decks .
  • Light and easy to carry on picnics, camping trips and soccer games.
  • Great solution for the sun room, for the patio, for the deck, by the pool or in the yard.

They have quite a few interesting designs.  Here’s a couple:

This next image is a mat made from old flip flops.  Fun, don’t ya think?


The description on their site says:  These colorful handmade doormats keep foam-rubber wastes from sandal manufacturing out of landfills by transforming them into tough but lightweight doormats that excel at removing soils. Used indoors or out, they’re easy to clean and have a cushiony feel that makes them great fatigue mats, too.

I’m loving this next one simply because of the whales it helps:


To protect endangered North Atlantic Right Whales from entanglement, Maine lobstermen are trading in their traditional float ropes for heavier sinking ropes. The colorful float ropes have been reclaimed and woven into these rugged, easy-to-clean outdoor mats. Mildew-proof and virtually indestructible. 100% polypropylene.

Here’s a door mat made from recycled bicycle inner tubes.

If you think that one is pretty cool, check this one out!

Their description:  Made using 100% recycled material, this exclusive rug champions caring for the environment. In addition to being a declaration of intentions by raising awareness about using biodegradable or recycled products, it represents a point of transgression for today’s most avant-garde spaces. This design was born through researching the possibility of using recycled rubber to create new textures. The solution arose during a journey to India: using inner tubes from bicycle tires, the most common mode of transportation there. The result: a conceptual, sustainable, new element.

Here’s a woman doing her part by keeping fabric out of the landfill.

Super cute, right?  On her site she says, “I love making things and I love using recycled materials. I know that I am taking a tiny portion of waste out of the waste stream and turning it into useful items. More than that, I’m educating people with my work! People ask me all the time where I get my materials, and what am I recycling. I tell them that I’m using salvaged fabric that I cut into yarn – collected from thrift stores, yard sales, and textile factories. This lets people know that items still have value after they are finished with them and can be remade into new and useful things. I also tell people that if they are finished using something, to donate it and not just throw it away.”

Next up is a hand-woven area rug made in Lancaster County, PA.  This thick shag rug is made from 100% woven recycled cotton and chenille yarn.


Looks like a cozy rug I’d want to bury my toes in!

This West Elm area rug is printed on 100% recycled cotton and not mention cute.

I really like this Williams-Sonoma area rug for its natural, simple feel.  It’s made with thick yarns spun from recycled soda bottles.  Their site says it’s soft on bare feet, durable and reversible, and loomed with vibrant yarn-dyed stripes to refresh spaces, indoors and out.

 While this next item isn’t an area rug, it’ll keep your rug from breaking down sooner than expected.  It’s called ENDURANCE 32®.

Their site says it’s a 100% recycled felt rug pad comprised of 32 ounces of 100% recycled fiber content, which is compressed into a 3/8 of an inch thick pad, dense enough to stand up to the heaviest traffic, which helps extend the life of your area rugs, yet soft enough to provide comfort underfoot and protection for your hardwood floors with its extra-soft backing.

In addition to sharing the images of the interesting area rugs, I thought I’d mention two companies (I’m sure there’s lots more out there) who are really making strides in their carpet recycling efforts.  The first is Shaw.  They have their own plant dedicated to recycling.  They call it Closed-loop Recycling.

Rugs made with Type 6 nylon, are the only post-consumer fiber capable of being recycled into new carpet and area rug fiber repeatedly. Shaw’s Evergreen Nylon Recycling facility uses patented technology that converts Type 6 nylon fiber from carpet and area rugs and recycles it back to its original material, caprolactam, which is the building block of Type 6 nylon fiber. This “cradle-to-cradle” process allows Type 6 nylon fibers to be recycled over and over again without the loss of any aestheticor performance properties.

Interesting.  My only thought was how much energy (and natural resources) it takes to complete this whole process.  While pondering that question, I ran across this document that discusses different nylon fibers and how they are recycled.

The second company I want to mention is Flor and their sustainability efforts in bringing recycled products to the market and also working to make their products recyclable after use.

On a final note, I thought I’d mention a blog that discusses many topics related to carpet and often writes posts on industry recycling efforts.

Come back tomorrow to check out my newly revived window boxes.  I’m loving the flower combos!  Have a great day!!




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Replacing an Irrigation System DIY Style

How many of you have an irrigation system that looks likes this? Rusted, don’t know how much longer it’ll last kinda pipes.


Do you know if you have galvanized or PVC pipes?  Do you really care?  Honestly, I didn’t really care until our professional plumbing guy said, “Houston, we have a problem.”  We were upgrading from a tank to a tankless hot water heater (that we love by the way – we’re saving about $50 a month on the gas bill and electric only went up a couple of bucks).  All that had to be done for the tankless was to tap into an existing pipe and that proved to be very difficult.  Imagine rusted crumbling pipes, several small puddles, and subterranean termites.  All I hear is cha-ching, cha-ching.  You could see dollar signs coming out my ears floating right into the plumber’s and exterminator’s pockets.  To the plumber’s credit (he’s a really great guy we’ve used for a couple of projects), he tried and tried to tap into an existing pipe but it was literally crumbling in his hands.  Fast forward half a day later, $800 poorer, and 3/4 of our house was copper piped.

Back to the task at hand… the irrigation system.  If you don’t care, point is, one day you will care when you either see your water bill and wonder why it’s gone up or you’ve created a muddy sink hole in your garden.  I know there’s nothing glamorous, fun, or fascinating about replacing an irrigation system, but if you learn to do it yourself you can save a few hundred bucks!

We spent a total of $30 on all the parts and one day’s worth of in-the-baking-sun tough labor (taking those pictures is rough – I may have index finger clicking syndrome).  Anyhoo, the hubby’s first job was to dig the trench to expose all the old pipe.

We knew we had a bit of a problem because the galvanized pipe eventually worked its way under the sidewalk.  So, we had to choose a spot to cut the pipe and figure out how to connect a non-threaded galvanized pipe to PVC.

Cutting the pipe with with a small hacksaw

We went to our locally owned home improvement store and asked what we could use.  Right away the gentleman gave us these parts:

On a side note, it’s important to wrap a teflon tape around the threaded ends of a pipe to ensure a good seal.  Next up, the hubby measured and cut all the PVC pipes and connected all the joints and elbows.

He first did a dry fit before gluing the pieces together in place.

After the dry fit, the next step is to sand the connection surfaces to accept the primer and cement (purple and clear stuff).

Then, the pieces get put together like a puzzle and laid in the ground at least 20″ deep.

This next step is crucial to success!  Wait approximately one hour for the cement to dry and then turn on the system to test for leaks.  If there are leaks, you have to back up to the beginning again.  Cut out the leaky sections and re-pipe with new parts.  If there are no leaks, you’re good to go and can back fill your trench.

You’ll notice the caps on the risers.  We temporarily have these on to keep dirt out of the pipes until we connect our drip system.  If this area was to be lawn, we would have connected sprinkler heads to the risers.

The last step was to install an automatic timer/shut off valve.  We had one lying around so no mulah was spent on this item!

 That wasn’t too bad, was it.  If we the hubby can do it so can you.  It’s honestly not that difficult, it just takes time.  The hardest part was digging the trench (there were some Chinese Elm roots to deal with).  The most challenging was the galvanized compression coupling to PVC connection.  With our California market, we saved between $200-$300 doing this project ourselves!

If you decide to tackle this project here’s an abbreviated list of materials needed:

  • Landscaping plan to know where irrigation should be installed
  • Safety glasses & gloves
  • Measuring tape
  • Trench shovel & pick axe
  • Hacksaw
  • PVC parts and pipes
  • Teflon tape
  • Sandpaper
  • Primer & cement
  • Automatic timer/shut off valve
  • Sun hat, sunscreen & lots of liquids

For some very specific and detailed instructions, visit this guy’s site.

Have a nice weekend!





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