Frank Hurd of the Carpet and Rug Institute (left) chats with Thomas Creato of Lees Carpets and Shayna Prunier of Invista during a recent CRI meeting in Irvine, Calif.

The Carpet and Rug Institute says it is making steady progress in its ongoing effort to debunk myths, educate consumers and sharpen the industry’s focus on environmental concerns. At a wide ranging update for West Coast members, officials from the Dalton, Ga.- based trade group said the broadloom carpet and area rug business still struggles against negative perceptions, but there is ample evident of progress.

“It is up to us to educate people,” said Frank Hurd, CRI’s president and chief operating officer while addressing about 50 members at a meeting in Irvine, Calif. He noted that CRI’s Seal of Approval program has helped establish standards for carpet as well as ancillary cleaning products. The most recent push involves rating vacuum cleaners for their effectiveness. Hurd said the initiative was prompted by the retailer Wal-Mart, which enlisted CRI’s help in setting standards for vacuum cleaners.

CRI is also distributing a 40-page booklet, “Carpet Cleaning for Dummies,” that is designed to help consumers clean their carpet effectively without incurring damage. In keeping with CRI’s effort to encourage people in the carpet business to assist with the educational effort, retailers are being asked to distribute the information. The group has also called on people in the industry to be on the lookout for any effort that could be detrimental to the image of carpet and rugs. “We call it the multiplier effect,” said Hurd. “When we use the sales force out there they can be better eyes and ears than we could ever be.” He added that the effort to educate people should also involve recycling and reuse programs that have made the carpeting and rugs more environmentally responsible than ever.