Eco friendly architecture is rapidly taking over and what better way to get on the eco-friendly movement than to participate in your own little home owner way. Not only should our buildings be mother-nature approved but that should include what is in them. Choosing the right kind of environment friendly furniture is tricky. Surprisingly, not all “organic” items are as eco-friendly as it is cut out to be. There are some important things and certifications that need to be considered for furniture to be legitimately eco-friendly.
1. Sustainable and Highly Renewable
Saving trees does not mean not buying wooden furniture. Since trees are a finite resource, the goal is to purchase wooden furniture that’s from sustainable tree farms, sources that can balance their harvesting and planting and make the whole process sustainable. Another way would be to buy furniture made of reclaimed wood. This is processed wood retrieved from its original application. There are certifications that check for how eco-friendly wooden furniture is; The Forestry Stewardship Council (FCS) and MBDC C2C (Cradle to Cradle) certification are some of the few certifications you want to look out for.
2. Reduced Toxicity
“Off gassing” or releasing substances into the air can be a concern when purchasing furniture. You don’t want to buy furniture that off gasses toxic chemicals which can be found on furniture that’s made out of synthetic materials or even treated with synthetic substances. Some common harmful chemicals off gassed by furniture are flame retardants and formaldehyde. It is best to look for furniture that is untreated or are treated naturally. You can also opt to buy vintage furniture since they have already been used. You can tell because the “new” smell would be gone. A Greenguard certification is a good way to know if your furniture does not emit harmful off gasses.
3. Recycle, Reclaim and Re-purpose
Choose products that can easily be disassembled so they can be taken apart and recycled after the whole wear and tear. You want to avoid furniture that are molded together and are inseparable. Chances are this type of furniture can’t be repaired well. This is to avoid throwing out the whole structure even if just a tiny part is broken and eventually just buying a new one. Having furniture that can just be easily repaired can let you save money, time and effort from the purchase of a new one. An MBDC C2C (Cradle 2 Cradle) is a trustworthy certification to know if your furniture passes the recycle, repair and reclaim category.
Bamboo is incredibly sustainable and versatile. You can use this type of grass for flooring, molding into furniture and even build whole structures out of it. Bamboo is very sturdy and is grown with little to no amount of pesticides. This type of material is very durable and can resist scratches and swelling. With proper care your bamboo furniture can last very long. Although, bamboo furniture is assembled with glue which can contain formaldehyde but that does depend on the supplier, so best double check with the store where you buy it from or your supplier if you have one.
5. Go local!
Buying local furniture or decors from your local shops and artisans will save you the extra shipping costs and will save the environment of carbon and transportation costs that come with delivering very heavy pieces. Sourcing furniture close to home is the most ideal option, if it is available. Not only is it helpful to the environment but you can support your local economy and the craftspeople. You can look for furniture made from salvaged wood, metal, glass and recycled fabrics from suppliers and craftspeople in your local newspaper. If you know people who work with wood you can ask them to make your furniture for you chances are they would also be willing to do larger wooden pieces.