If you’ve done any research on the green furniture movement, you may have already decided that it is just another trend for others to adopt and later forget about. Going green when it comes to furniture has many more important implications than simply giving you the right to demand that others get on-board eco-friendly train!
If the word “sustainability” isn’t enough to make you hop on over to your nearest modern furniture store, there are some reasons why you might want to make the switch. You may always assumed that eco-friendly and sustainable options for home décor are always more expensive. However, this is likely not the case. You may simply be looking in the wrong places for green solutions for your home. In addition, there are other important reasons, such as your health, that should be considered as well. Here is why it is important to go green and some tips on how to do it.
Furniture Made From Recycled Materials
As the technology of furniture design improves, manufacturers are increasingly incorporating recycled items into the furniture design process. Everything, from recycled plastic to old metal parts, can be used to create a new and exciting furniture piece. Therefore, opting to purchase recycled furniture doesn't mean that you have to purchase a random used item at a garage sale. In fact, you can find many "new" furniture pieces from modern furniture manufacturers that offer contemporary styles while also incorporating recycled materials.
There are many furniture pieces that are made from renewable resources. These resources are considered to be sustainable because they can be regenerated faster than the materials that are traditionally used to make furniture. Sustainable furniture materials include bamboo and hemp. Unlike wood, bamboo grows very quickly and can be harvested in just a few years. Hemp is a strong material that is often used for furniture upholstery and can also regenerate quickly. In many cases, furniture that is made from sustainable materials is just as beautiful and durable as those pieces that are made from traditional materials.
Health Benefits of Green Furniture
Recent studies have revealed that many furniture products that are manufactured using standard practices contain harmful chemicals, including flame retardant and formaldehyde. These chemicals have been linked to cancer and may also cause lung damage when inhaled. By purchasing furniture that is made from natural or low-toxicity materials, you can reduce the chances of being exposed to dangerous chemicals. Overtime, these toxic furniture items also release chemicals into the air, known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are commonly found in furniture paints and can dramatically reduce indoor air quality. If you want to stay healthy, opt for furniture products made by eco-friendly vendors that use natural or low-toxicity finishes and paints.
Update Old Furniture With New Upholstery
Going green isn't about throwing out all of your old furniture in favor of new, eco-friendly furniture. In fact, that is pretty wasteful on its own! Instead of getting rid of that old tired couch, consider upgrading it with new upholstery. You'll save yourself the headache of figuring out how to haul it to the junkyard and you may also save yourself some money in the process.
Look for Certified Wood
While wood is a gorgeous material to use for furniture making, trees are not an infinite resource. If you want to do something positive for the environment, you should purchase wood that is SFI or FSC certified. This label guarantees that the wood used to make the furniture comes from a sustainable tree farm, was harvested sustainably from a forest, or is reclaimed wood. By taking some responsibility in regard to where your furniture materials come from, you can have a huge impact on the longevity of the world's forests.
Buy Well-Constructed Furniture
When many people shop for furniture, price often plays a major part in their purchase decisions. However, spending a bit more to obtain furniture that is well-constructed, instead of cheaply made, can allow you to get more use out of the furniture. In addition, quality furniture is less likely to need repairs over time, which is one of the top reasons that broken furniture ends up in the trash. If something minor breaks on the furniture, give it a shot and try to fix it before you toss it!
Vintage is simply another word for recycled. By purchasing vintage furniture, you can reuse something that is already made while creating a sophisticated look for your home in the process! With many vintage items, the age is also an advantage because it means that the toxic chemicals that are often present after a piece of furniture is made have already dissipated. Going vintage is a win-win for your health and your home’s interior design!
Check the Furniture Labels
Before you purchase any items from a modern furniture store, be sure to check the labels. Look for indications that the furniture piece was manufactured using eco-friendly processes. In addition, many furniture stores offer options to purchase items that have been manufactured using sustainable or eco-friendly practices, which will make it much easier for you to decide.
Let's face it. Furniture can negatively impact the environment by creating more waste. While it may not be immediately obvious from the single sofa that you tossed in the trash last fall, these disposable products add up to a lot of landfill waste over time. In addition, the manufacturing process for most furniture items, from the materials used to the human labor required, is yet another drain on the environment. If you care about the earth, go green with your next furniture purchase!