Our Rating: 4/5 (See: How Leaf Score is calculated)
- Made with Seagrass (Bulrush or Cattail), an all-natural and eco-friendly material
- Whimsical design that makes a statement
- Offers a thick pile height
|Country of Origin:||Haiti|
The VivaTerra Starburst Seagrass Rush Rugs are delightfully shaped natural fiber rugs that really make a statement. With a thick pile height, these rugs are available in a small 36” diameter size and a larger 50” diameter size. They are made with Seagrass (Bulrush or Cattail), which is an all-natural and eco-friendly material traditionally used for basket weaving. This plant grows quickly without the need for fertilizers or pesticides and is sustainable and durable.
VivaTerra source these rugs from artisans in Haiti who use natural bulrush fibers and carefully twist them into rope-like strands. These strands are then woven into spiral patterns and the spirals are stitched together to create the whimsical design.
These rugs should not be placed in direct sunlight as the untreated seagrass may fade. They can simply be shaken to clean.
VivaTerra were founded in California in 2004 and the company is now based in Virginia. They specialize in recycled glass accents, block-printed textiles, and reclaimed wood furnishings and also provide some eco-friendly rugs. Items are sourced from more than 20 countries worldwide and VivaTerra claim to favor fair-trade partners and sustainable methods of production. However, most products do not carry specific third-party certifications, including these seagrass rugs, making it difficult to ascertain how robust the eco-friendly claims really are. They have, however, partnered with TerraPass, an organization that supports businesses in taking responsibility for climate impacts and offsetting carbon footprints.
VivaTerra vs. Safavieh vs. West Elm
If VivaTerra acquired some eco-certs, they would receive a higher Leaf Score for these rugs. Until then, these Seagrass rugs are a decent choice if you’re looking for something different to a standard shaped rug and made with natural fibers. However, West Elm and Safavieh are better bets for eco-friendly jute type rugs, and Organic Weave, Earth Weave and others are best overall for eco-friendly rugs with serious certifications and commitment to sustainability and best practices.
West Elm’s Jute Boucle rug wins best in category, as it is certified to Nest standards and is handmade, meaning it is likely to last a good 20 years or so. Safavieh’s rugs may be power-loomed, which would mean they have an expected lifespan of around 10 years (View Price on Amazon). West Elm also offer their Sunbeam jute rugs which are a great option if you’re looking for a hint of color. However, the Sunbeam jute rug is not reversible like their Jute Boucle, Safavieh’s jute-only rugs, or VivaTerra’s Seagrass rug as they feature a cotton backing (which also means they gather more dust). West Elm rugs are a little more expensive than many competitors, including Safavieh and VivaTerra, but likely for good reason, given the handcrafted nature of these products.
Safavieh are certified by the Sustainable Furnishings Council, demonstrating a degree of commitment to environmentally sound manufacturing and ethical labor practices. West Elm have several products that are certified to Nest standards, which is similar to FairTrade, as well as several certified FairTrade and GOTS. We’d like to see more from both companies, but their steps in this direction are positive and important. West Elm’s Sunbeam jute rug has no such certifications; their Jute Boucle rug is Nest standard.
Beware Safavieh Seagrass rugs however, as these have a synthetic polypropylene backing. All in all, if you’re looking for a mix of cotton and jute or seagrass, go for West Elm and avoid the synthetic Safavieh option. If you want a straight-up jute rug, go for West Elm’s Jute Boucle, and for Seagrass rugs perhaps choose VivaTerra or West Elm; neither are backed by any eco-certifications but both appear to be eco-friendly in construction and the companies are at least making a nod toward environmental and social responsibility.