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Global Recycled Standard, Explained

This article delves deep into the Global Recycled Standard, its objectives, criteria, and its significance in today's world.

Written by:

Christi Farrell, RA, Leed GA


November 8, 2022

Image source:

Studio Marlowe

As homeowners increasingly prioritize health and environmental responsibility within their living spaces, the Global Recycled Standard (GRS) has become a pivotal benchmark within the interior design industry.

But what exactly is the GRS, and how does it contribute towards healthier, more sustainable homes?

What is the Global Recycled Standard?

The Global Recycled Standard (GRS) is an international, voluntary certification that sets requirements for third-party verification of recycled content, chain of custody, social and environmental practices, and chemical restrictions.

Launched by Textile Exchange, a global nonprofit organization, GRS aims to incentivize the use of recycled materials in products and reduce/eliminate harm caused by their production.

Why is GRS Relevant in Healthy Interior Design?

Interior design isn't just about aesthetic appeal; it's also about creating spaces that positively influence the health of inhabitants and the planet.

Using materials with the GRS certification in interior design projects ensures that:

  • Recycled content is being used, reducing the demand for virgin resources and the environmental burden associated with extraction and processing.
  • The materials are processed according to strict environmental and social criteria, reducing the risk of harmful substances that could affect indoor air quality and occupant wellbeing.
  • Consumers are informed about the sustainability attributes of their choices, thus promoting a more environmentally conscious lifestyle.

Incorporating GRS-certified materials into interior design is a definitive step toward a healthier, more responsible approach to creating living spaces.

How Does the Global Recycled Standard Work?

To receive GRS certification, a product must contain a minimum of 20% pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content.

The process begins with verifying the recycled content and tracing it from its source to the final product – this is the chain of custody component.

The GRS also evaluates the social and environmental impacts of production, ensuring safe working conditions, responsible resource management, and minimal chemical use.

Impact on Healthy Home Environments

The use of sustainable materials contributes to better indoor air quality and a healthier home environment.

GRS certifications encompass strict regulations regarding harmful chemicals, ensuring that textiles and other materials used within interior spaces do not off-gas toxic substances.

Additionally, sustainable materials often have a longer lifespan and are more durable, leading to fewer replacements and a lower environmental impact over time.

The selection of GRS-certified materials signifies a commitment to sustainability and health that is increasingly valuable to homeowners.

Challenges and Considerations

While the adoption of GRS can significantly contribute to the development of healthy, sustainable homes, there are challenges to consider:

  • Cost: GRS-certified materials may come with a higher price tag, which can be a barrier for some consumers.

  • Availability: Not all materials are available with GRS certification, which can limit design options.

  • Awareness: There is a need for greater consumer education regarding the importance and benefits of GRS certification in interior design.

Brands with GRS Certification

Several reputable brands in the home furnishings and materials space claim to hold GRS certification.

Consumers can look to companies like Patagonia, Adidas, and H&M, which have taken steps to include recycled materials in their product lines and are transparent about their sustainability efforts.

FAQs About the Global Recycled Standard

1. Can GRS-certified materials be used in all aspects of interior design?

Yes, GRS certification is not limited to textiles. It can apply to any product that contains recycled content, including furniture, home accessories, and building materials.

2. How is GRS certification different from other eco-friendly certifications?

GRS is specifically focused on recycled content and the associated environmental and social impacts. Other certifications may focus on different aspects of sustainability, such as organic cultivation or energy efficiency.

3. Where can I find GRS-certified products for my home?

GRS-certified products are increasingly available through various retailers and manufacturers. It's important to ask for certification proof or check for the GRS logo on products.

4. Are GRS-certified products more sustainable than non-certified products?

While certification isn't the sole indicator of sustainability, GRS-certified products are vetted for their recycled content and production practices, making them a more sustainable choice.

5. How can I verify the authenticity of a brand's GRS certification?

Consumers can request certification details from the brand or look up the brand's certification status on the Textile Exchange website.

In conclusion, the Global Recycled Standard plays a crucial role in steering interior design towards a healthy and sustainable future.

Incorporating GRS-certified materials into homes is a practical way for consumers to contribute to a greener planet and ensure their living spaces promote wellbeing.

As the industry continues to evolve, it will be essential for designers and homeowners alike to prioritize certifications like the GRS that align with environmental and health standards.

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Christi Farrell

Christi is a licensed architect and interior designer specializing in sustainability. She enjoys teaching design and bringing transparency to the impact that furniture has on our planet.

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