Choosing eco-friendly furniture helps protect the environment. It limits the amount of waste in landfills and prevents deforestation of natural resources.
When looking for sustainable furniture, it is important to look at the overall picture, not just a single attribute. Several things need to be considered, including materials and manufacturing processes.
Reduced Carbon Footprint
The furniture industry significantly impacts the environment, with deforestation and climate change being just a few negative effects. However, the green movement has helped to turn this around. Regarding sustainable furniture, we’re discussing more than just the materials used and whether they’re recyclable or reusable. It’s about how these materials are produced, their carbon footprint, and how they affect the indoor air quality of your home.
Buying sustainably made furniture may cost more upfront than cheap alternatives. But throughout its lifespan, sustainable furniture pays for itself. It’s also a better choice for business owners, reducing the amount of money they spend on replacements. The average piece of furniture generates the same amount of greenhouse gasses as burning 5.3 gallons of gasoline. This makes it important to make sustainable choices when shopping for new furniture.
To be considered environmentally friendly, furniture must have an eco-friendly manufacturing process and use green materials. The best sustainable furniture manufacturers use energy-efficient technologies and practices to minimize the amount of energy consumed during production. They also prioritize waste reduction by repurposing or recycling unwanted materials. They often employ closed-loop systems or waste-to-energy technology to reduce their carbon footprint further. Lastly, they favor regional raw materials and manufacturers and use eco-friendly transportation.
The production and disposal of furniture generates significant waste in the form of raw materials, chemicals and water. This waste can contribute to climate change, deforestation, pollution of waterways and landfills. Sustainable furniture uses sustainable raw materials and production processes that reduce these impacts. Buying eco-friendly office furniture supports the transition from a linear economy model hinged on single-use products to a circular economy that optimizes resources and minimizes waste throughout the product’s lifecycle.
Many sustainable furniture manufacturers use sustainable and repurposed materials to produce their goods locally. This helps support the local economy while reducing energy consumption and waste. In addition, durable furniture is less likely to need replacement, reducing waste.
When shopping for furniture, choose recycled plastic or composite instead of wood because it is less environmentally harmful. Additionally, avoid wood furniture treated with chemicals such as polyurethane or stains because these can leach harmful VOCs into the air in your home.
If you are unable to purchase sustainable furniture, consider purchasing secondhand furniture. This will help keep unwanted furniture out of landfills while allowing you to find unique pieces at a fraction of the cost. It is also important to avoid purchasing disposable furniture, such as Styrofoam and single-use plastics, which can’t be reused and contribute to landfill and ocean waste.
Better Indoor Air Quality
The furniture industry has a large carbon footprint, but when people choose sustainable pieces that are less energy-intensive and emit fewer toxic chemicals, it can have a huge impact. Choosing eco-friendly materials is a great way to reduce our dependency on unsustainable practices like mining for metals, deforestation, and overfishing oceanic species that contribute to habitat destruction and biodiversity loss.
Sustainable pieces also often utilize low-emission materials to limit the off-gassing of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). This can help improve indoor air quality by decreasing allergies, asthma, and other respiratory problems. This is especially important for people with sensitive skin and young children.
Companies that use sustainable materials and manufacturing practices also focus on preserving resources, limiting waste, and reducing environmental impact. They may source their materials locally or near their factory to ship them quickly, which requires a lot of energy.
Many businesses today are rethinking the furniture industry and moving towards sustainability. They prioritize using recycled and repurposed furniture and encourage their clients to rent instead of buy, which extends the furniture lifecycle while cutting down on waste. Brook is one of these furniture companies that takes a green approach to business by only using high-quality, sustainable office furniture and promoting the furniture rental market.
The environmental benefits of sustainable furniture continue when you purchase it. You also help to promote a circular economy model that optimizes resources and maximizes a product’s useful life. This helps to reduce the dependency on a linear economy model that relies on single-use, low-quality products.
Many sustainable furniture options are made from non-toxic, plant-based materials that can be sourced locally. Look for organic vegetable fibers such as cotton, linen, bamboo, rattan, and wicker. Wood is a common base material, so look for FSC or Blue Angel certifications to ensure the wood doesn’t contribute to deforestation. Other options include natural finishes and paints, which dispense with harmful chemicals and lower VOC levels.
Upcycling is another green option, which takes discarded or unwanted materials and refashions them into new products of higher quality than the original. This can save resources used to produce new items and limit the waste from being sent to landfills or dumped in oceans. While eco-friendly furniture might cost more than traditional options, it’ll likely last longer and pay for itself in the long run.