As a corporate environmental commitment, we are consistent in our efforts to recycle unused or waste materials at a local facility. Both in-office and in the design studio, we make every effort towards creative re-use of a variety of our excess materials for display, mockups of designs, and other applications as inspiration occurs. Even though we are a smaller company we feel this is an important approach for design as well as for the environment.
What efforts have you made to “green up” your manufacturing process? (Reduced waste in manufacturing process, reduced energy or water consumption through processes or equipment)?
With regard to the actual manufacturing process I am not in a position personally to make changes of this nature. However, I consciously select companies who fabricate the products for Silk Road Weaves who are as environmentally conscientious as possible under the political, cultural and geographic circumstances in which they work.
The washing process that is completed after weaving is done naturally, even using some harvested rain water because the municipal water supply is not consistent. Washing is done with soap and water only, without chemicals (this is my standard specification). Rugs are dried in the sun.
Since our products are entirely hand made from start to finish, the manufacturers use a lot of “human power” in all phases of construction: Carding, Looming, Weaving, Washing, Cutting, and Finishing. This is the traditional way. During rolling blackouts they use solar powered lamps. Dye solutions are heated by wood, coal or natural gas depending on the location.
Do you have a recycling/reclaim program in place?
We recycle paper in our studio office, and also in the office of the manufacturers. In the factory, waste material is recycled. This includes cotton yarn, pile leftovers – wool, silk, allo, etc. Most of the recycled material is carded and re-used for making quilts and mats.
Barbara Jacobs Color and Designs/Silk Road Weaves is a RUGMARK – GOODWEAVE member. All products from Silk Road Weaves are made at RugMark-GoodWeave Certified facilities and as such can state with confidence that all rugs from Silk Road Weaves are child-labor-free.
What makes your products green?
All items in our Silk Road Weaves line of hand knotted Tibetan rugs are “green.” Simply, it is the use of indigenous materials—from the wool of high-mountain Himalayan sheep to the wild growing renewable plant materials like “Allo (Giant Himalayan Nettle), “Sunpat” (a plant that is naturally occurring in Nepal), Silk from China, and other materials that are historically part of the fabric of daily life in the geographic area in which they grow.
But not only are our rugs environmentally “Green,” they have the added component that I call “Human Green.” This means that our production companies use absolutely NO child labor (as a RugMark member all our products are certified as such), made by only the most experienced adult artisans. In addition they create opportunities for community development like day care, vacation time, and other benefits to their employees that help create a healthier lifestyle for the artisans whose skills are responsible for creating our rugs. Thus, you might say that the people who enjoy Silk Road Weaves rugs in their homes can also be confident that they are contributing to a better life for the people who have made their rugs. I call this “the human connection.”
Are these materials regionally sourced? Where exactly do they come from?
All regionally sourced in Nepal, except silk from China
Are there any finishes, sealants, glues, adhesives, etc.?
Are your products rated low/zero VOC? Do you have documentation to support?
Since they are made of all naturally grown materials (wool and plant fibers), they have no VOC’s. However I do not have documentation for this. In some cases we use vegetable dyes, but we always stress using a wash with no chemicals, only soap and water.
Recycled content? Post-consumer or Post-Industrial?
Designs using natural, post-industrial materials are currently in the development phase.
Recyclable at end of life? If so, how?
Rugs in the Silk Road Weaves collections can be expected to last for generations, with proper care. Because they are made of natural materials, recycling at “end of life” is not really an issue at this time. Our rugs are “earth-friendly,” in the sense that they would decompose into the earth in about 5 years.
Do you use rapidly renewable materials?
Himalayan Wool is the principal material used in Silk Road Weaves Tibetan rugs. Some details:
In Nepal, the shearing of the sheep wool is done every six months, around April and October. After a lamb is born, the first shearing will be done between 6 to 9 months and after that every six months. A sheep can deliver good wool for up to five years. The quality of wool diminishes with the age of the sheep. As my weavers say, “This is where we need to be very particular when we choose the wool.” The older the sheep is, the more dead hair is found in the wool. This kind of wool is bad quality of wool for rug production and we do not use it. Note, therefore, that the best wool for our rugs is carefully selected and comes from younger sheep.
Process: after the sheep have been sheared, the wool will be then washed and carded and finally will be spun to get yarn ready. NOTE: all this process is done by hand.
Allo grows in the forested hilly region of Nepal and is harvested annually around October. Due to the recent awareness of Allo as a design material, the demand for allo has gone up. So the people started farming the allo. The transition of the plant from raw stage to useable fiber yarn takes about one month. The processing includes phases of harvesting, stripping, drying, soaking, beating, etc. It’s a very labor-intensive and time consuming process.
Hemp is similar to allo, as is the processing to get the final yarn.
Sunpat is also another type of plant which grows in the southern part of Nepal in the plains area. The quality of yarn is similar to jute quality.
Is your packaging recycled, recyclable, or reusable?
Plastic used for wrapping for international carpet shipping may not be recyclable but it is certainly reusable! The jute that is used to wrap around the plastic is a more eco-friendly plant fiber.
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