There are several ways to do your part in following a greener lifestyle. Some people bring their own tote bags for grocery shopping, while others take shorter showers to save water. Buying eco-friendly furniture has also become a popular step towards an eco-friendly lifestyle.
Furniture choices can vary between different people. Some of us are obsessed with furniture, while others hardly seem to notice them. But there is no denying that choosing environmentally friendly furniture in homes and offices can reduce our carbon footprint significantly. These are some of the tips on how to choose eco-friendly furniture for your home or office.
Heirloom furniture kept out of landfill is one of the most eco-friendly furniture you can buy. You may be surprised to know that wood continues to release carbon dioxide into the environment long after the tree is dead.
That means any new furniture made of wood will contribute to global warming in more than one way. Heirloom furniture is not only eco-friendly but built to last for a long time. So you can think of them as a long-term investment, as well as doing your part to save the environment.
Sustainable Wood Furniture
If heirloom furniture is too expensive for you, look for furniture made with wood obtained from sustainable forests or farms. When you purchase furniture made with sustainably harvested wood, always look for certification by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
Look for Alternatives to Wood
There are several sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives to wood for making furniture these days. Some of these alternatives are Rattan, Cane, and bamboo. All of them are natural and versatile materials to make furniture for indoor and outdoor use.
Rattan and cane furniture can be used indoors by matching them with the theme or color shades inside the house. These types of furniture are extremely long-lasting and can be subjected to various weather conditions.
They also come in several designs and looks that can be matched with the indoor or outdoor decor in houses or offices. Rattan and cane furniture have made a big comeback last year and are becoming quite popular these days.
Bamboo is also an extremely sustainable material because it grows fast and is extremely versatile. However, unlike Rattan or cane furniture, bamboo furniture is often held together with glue containing toxic chemicals. Bamboo also needs a lot of water to grow and sucks up all the nutrients from the soil.
It takes fewer resources and less processing to make furniture from recycled materials. When you buy furniture made with recycled materials, you also help in supporting the market for recycled products. However, make sure you understand the true meaning of recycling before you purchase recycled furniture.
Always look for products with end-to-end sustainability to avoid hybrid products, which cannot get recycled further. Also, look for options that can get disassembled for recycling once you are done using them. Furniture made with reclaimed wood is also a great environment-friendly option.
Reclaimed wood is another name for recycled wood obtained from buildings, old fences, thrown away furniture, and other places. The wood used in buildings or fences is extremely long-lasting and can make great furniture with some repurposing. Recycled furniture prevents new trees from getting cut and keeps all these materials from ending up in a landfill.
As we mentioned before, bamboo furniture can be great as long as it is not glued together. Glues can release formaldehyde and other chemicals into the air, which can be toxic to the environment. Sometimes, furniture can also be treated with chemicals that release harmful gases in the air.
So always look for furniture treated with natural substances or left completely untreated. Also, avoid flame-retardant furniture because they are chemical powders that have been applied to the surface.
Even though flame retardant furniture is designed to keep you safe, there is hardly any proof of that. Instead, they release toxic fumes into the air when they burn. So always check with the manufacturer if they have used the flame retardant treatment on a piece of furniture before buying it.
The consumerist mentality is the biggest contributor to all the harm caused to the environment. So instead of filling up your house with furniture that you rarely need, consider a minimalistic approach. The minimalist lifestyle emphasizes adopting flexibility and a “less is more” mentality. You can reduce the pieces of furniture in your house by purchasing ones that can serve multiple purposes.
Always research a bit before buying eco-friendly furniture for your home or office. You can also ask experts and manufacturers to learn the sources of material used for making furniture.
Always make sure that the eco-friendly furniture you purchase is truly environment-friendly. You can find out the different types of certification and cross-check whether the furniture you want to buy has been certified or not.