I’ve written about eco-friendly doormats in the past (including ones made from recycled flip-flops and old truck tires) given that they’re often the first thing you see (or step on, rather) when crossing the threshold into any serious green home. With Mother’s Day just around the corner, here’s another eco-‘mat worth gifting — (or just keeping for yourself): Down East Doormats.

Down East Doormats have a fascinating environmental back-story. Once, not so long ago, Maine’s lobsterman used float rope to tether lobster traps together on the ocean floor. It was an effective method but one with an unfortunate drawback: the float rope also snared whales, injuring or killing them. The use of float rope to catch lobsters in Maine is now history — whale-friendly sink rope is currently used — but because of the transition hundreds and thousands of pounds of float rope turned in by the lobsterman had nowhere to go but the landfill.

Enter Penny Johnston’s The Maine Float-Rope Company. Johnston, the brains behind another fabulous reuse project, The Main Barn Furniture Company, diverts retired float rope from landfills and uses it to create nifty, one-of-a-kind doormats. Tough n’ tumble Down East Doormats come in a variety of eye-catching colors, are virtually indestructible, and are a breeze to clean — they’re pretty much the perfect ‘mat material (plus they float!). Better yet, a portion of profits from sales go to organizations that help protect the Northern Right Whale, provide financial assistance to Maine lobstermen, and keep the Gulf of Maine ecologically sound.

Take a gander around the Down East Doormat virtual storefront (they’re also available at always awesome Daytrip Society). The handcrafted ‘mats come in a variety of colors, both solid and striped, and in two sizes: large (24’’x36”) and medium (18”x30”). The medium 'mats go for $49.95 and the large sell for $79.95. The prices may seem steep but considering the handcrafted nature of and fascinating history behind Down East Doormats — not to mention that they'll last forever —I think they're a steal. And although I'm quite fond of the multicolored options, my favorite is a solid color that's true to the nautical history of the 'mats: a blazin' shade of lobster red. 

Via [Daily Candy] (Thanks, Amy!)

Images: Daytrip Society

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Dope eco-rope doormats
Made from reclaimed float rope once used by lobstermen, Down East Doormats add long-lasting, nautical flair to your entryway while benefiting eco-causes in Main