Sustainable furniture goes beyond using materials that are eco friendly, it also encompasses production processes that are safe for the environment. This includes limiting carbon emissions and avoiding harmful chemicals in production.
Other considerations include sourcing local wood and using low-VOC paints or glues. This will minimize transportation energy use and reduce pollution.
1. Recycled Materials
We spend 90% of our time indoors, so it’s important to have furniture that’s made from sustainable materials. Green furniture is typically made with recycled materials, which reduces waste and the need to use new raw materials.
This can also help reduce the amount of toxic chemicals used during production. These chemicals, known as off-gassing, can negatively affect your health and the environment.
Local sourcing and lighter packaging can also lower the carbon footprint of your furniture. Styrofoam and single-use plastics can be replaced with eco-friendly alternatives that are both biodegradable and recyclable, which helps to limit landfill and ocean pollution.
Recycling can also help prevent deforestation. By using recycled materials, furniture makers can avoid cutting down trees that contribute to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Reduced Carbon Footprint
A reduced carbon footprint is one of the biggest benefits of choosing sustainable furniture. This is because the production of furniture requires a significant amount of natural resources and energy. Furniture with a reduced carbon footprint can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which are one of the leading causes of climate change.
Look for nontoxic, non-volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and repurposed materials when choosing furniture. This will minimize the negative impact on indoor air quality. You should also choose wood that is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), so you know it isn’t contributing to deforestation.
In addition, sustainable furniture is designed with functionality in mind, so it lasts longer. This eliminates the need for frequent replacement, which reduces waste. Additionally, many manufacturers have sustainability protocols in place that focus on energy efficiency and resource conservation.
When you purchase durable, sustainable furniture that is designed to last, you reduce the need for replacement pieces which can create waste and have a negative impact on our environment. Additionally, it reduces the harmful chemicals that are used to make less-sustainable furniture.
Look for sustainable furniture with a minimal amount of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) which are toxic pollutants that have been linked to several health conditions. These chemicals are found in many common furniture materials, including formaldehyde, which is commonly used in wood veneers and paints.
Look for sustainable furniture made by companies that are committed to fair trade practices and ethical production standards. This ensures that the people making the furniture get a decent living wage, which can have a positive impact on the local community and economy.
4. Minimized Waste
When purchasing sustainable furniture, it’s important to consider the manufacturing process and energy usage. Look for companies that prioritize energy-efficient production methods and utilize renewable energy sources when possible. They should also minimize waste by using recycled materials whenever possible.
Sustainable furniture is often made from nontoxic wood and other natural, organic materials that are eco-friendly. Choose materials that have been certified to be nontoxic or have low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as vinegar, baking soda, and natural oils.
Choose a company that uses locally-sourced wood and other raw materials to reduce transportation emissions. Additionally, opt for modular and versatile pieces to minimize unused components.
5. Better Indoor Air Quality
Many common furniture pieces use a lot of chemicals in the manufacturing process, which is not good for the environment or your health. These chemicals, such as formaldehyde, can be harmful to the body and cause breathing issues. When you buy sustainable furniture, it has a lower chance of having these harmful chemicals in it.
Look for furniture that is certified by eco-friendly labels such as Cradle to Cradle or LEED. You should also look for furniture that has low or no VOCs, which is an indicator of the low amounts of toxic chemicals used during the production process.
You can also help the environment by buying secondhand furniture and repurposing old furniture that you own. This will save you money and prevent unwanted furniture from ending up in landfills.