Sustainable Sisal – Eco-Friendly Sisal Rugs & Flooring

It is important to realize that using sisal rugs in your home or workplace helps to promote sustainability in developing countries.  Likewise, you are providing a healthier environment for yourself and also those around you.

Brightfields sisal flooringFor us to begin discussing the benefits of sisal rugs we need to first look at the plant itself, sisal growth patterns, and the processing of the plant into usable fibers.  All of these factors help to make sisal rugs rapidly renewable, environmentally sustainable and uniquely beautiful!

The sisal plant used for rug manufacture is Agave Sisalana, a relative of the well known aloe plant.  Sisal is extremely drought resistant, making it the perfect cash crop for areas unable to profit from other types of farming.  Pesticides are not needed and rarely used.  Weeding is usually done by hand.  The lifespan of this sisal plant is about 10-12 years and one plant produces up to 250 usable leaves in its lifetime.  Each leaf contains an average of 1000 fibers. Five to ten percent of the leaf is fiber. Harvesting usually begins when the plant is around two years old.

The process of extracting the fibers from the sisal plant is called decortication.  The leaves are crushed by a rotating wheel fitted with blunt blades.  They are then dried, brushed and baled for shipment.    A great majority of the fibers used to make sisal rugs are produced on smallholder farms in Brazil, where the fiber is sun dried and hand brushed.  Another large area of fiber production is in East Africa, where sisal is grown on plantations and mechanically dried.  There is a common belief that sisal fibers that are mechanically dried are stronger than sun dried, however I could find no research to substantiate this.

We can already see that the plant used to produce fibers for weaving is rapidly renewable and environmentally sustainable.  You might be asking yourself, what happens to the other 90% of the plant after the fibers are removed?

The leftover of the decortication process is called slag.  It has many uses including animal feed for the sheep on Brazilian smallholder farms.  The wool from sheep is also incorporated into the manufacture of sisal rugs to provide a softer feel underfoot.  Slag is also used in Africa to produce biogas, supplying electrical energy for the fiber production facilities.

Slag is also used to replace the glass in fiberglass.  This is used by both the automobile and aircraft industries.  Slag is used to strengthen plastics.  It is also used in the geotextiles industry for land reclamation and stabilization.  Slag is used as plaster reinforcement and even padding for mattresses and furniture.

In conclusion sisal rug benefits to you are a tough, long lasting and durable rug with very low maintenance. Natural fiber rugs preserve indoor air quality.  They release no VOC emissions usually associated with “new rug smell”.  In addition sisal rugs balance room humidity by absorbing and releasing ambient moisture as needed, much like the plant itself.  Sisal rugs reduce allergens because it does not attract dust.   Furthermore, they are also anti-static and sound absorbing.

The inherent character of natural fiber color and thickness ensures each sisal rug is unique and individual, just like in nature.  No two rugs are exactly the same!

Source: Natural Sisal Rugs

sisal flooringBrightfields Natural Flooring – Sisal

Sisal – Agave Sisalina is a strong, green spiky bush which flourishes in the sub-tropical climate of Tanzania and Kenya. The giant leaves of the Sisal Agave plant are the raw material for sisal carpets. These leaves are then harvested and the mesophyll washed out. The fibres are then cleaned, washed and dried in the sun. Fibres are finished, treated, spun and finally woven. It is latex backed for stability and to prevent slipping on wooden or tiled floors.

Sisal is a top end Flooring option ideal for all areas of the home especially Dining and Lounge areas. Sisal rugs are beautiful and will complement all furniture and décor settings .Sisal rugs with a choice of acrylic or leather trims will enhance all settingssisal rugs

Contact  Brightfields (email: alistair@brightfields.co.za) for a quote on sisal rugs or other natural products made from bamboo, seagrass and mountain grass.  Trade enquiries are also welcome.

The Brightfields Sisal range includes the following:

Sisal Wild Honey
Sisal Silverstone
Sisal Choc Boucle
Sisal Monsoon
Sisal Smokey Topaz
Sisal Charcoal Topaz

Sisal Brass Cobble

 

Source: Brightfields Natural Trading Company

Using natural, sustainable building and decor materials should go hand-in-hand with other eco-friendly systems such as water conservation devices and renewable energy.  With the increasing uncertainty of municipal water supply and unpredictable climate patterns in South Africa, it is also wise to ensure that you have adequate water storage facilities.  JoJo Tanks are the affordable, quality choice for water tanks and water tank stands in South Africa.  Contact us for a free quote.

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