5 Thoughtful Ways to Source Green Furniture
In recent years, companies have strived to create eco-friendly furniture as sustainability becomes more important for consumers. Labeling something as “green” is easy, but doing so doesn’t mean the item made is genuinely sustainable.
How can you source furniture that’s actually green? Here are five thoughtful ways to find it.
1. Sustainably-Made Fabric
One way to know if the furniture is green is to look for companies using sustainable fabrics.
Look for companies making furniture from recycled materials, like plastic. Recycling keeps those materials from going to landfills, thus releasing more carbon into the air and damaging the ozone layer.
Plastic is collected from landfills and melted down before companies spin it into yarn and weave it into the fabric. This process can genuinely be verified if a company is transparent about creating its fabrics out of recycled materials.
Keep in mind there are still some emissions released in the production of this fabric. However, it’s argued that removing landfill plastic compensates for those emissions.
2. Recycled Plastic Frames
Aside from using recycled plastic for fabric, it can be used to make furniture frames. Milk jugs and other hard plastics make great outdoor furniture frames since they can withstand the elements.
The plastic gets shredded into beads which are then melted together to form the bases for chairs, swings and tables. This keeps the materials out of landfills and reduces the need for companies to produce new plastic furniture.
As with fabrics, reputable companies will be transparent about the production process, so you know recycled plastic was used.
3. Thrift Furniture
You may thrift clothes, but you should also consider buying used furniture the next time you need a new piece in your home. By giving the furnishings a new life, you are keeping them from ending up in a landfill and reducing the emissions creating unique furniture.
When you purchase used furniture, make sure it’s something you genuinely want. You don’t want a weak piece you won’t have time to rebuild. Plenty of thrift stores provide quality used furniture, including those who donate their profits to worthy causes.
There’s no point in purchasing crumbling furniture that will end up in a landfill shortly.
4. Reclaimed Wood
Similar to thrifting furniture, you can purchase furniture made from reclaimed wood. This is wood previously used in another project that can no longer be used, but can be dismantled and made into furniture, like tables and chairs.
Some companies will fake reclaimed wood to achieve the aesthetic without collecting old lumbar. However, there are ways to identify actual reclaimed wood, including looking for signs of aging instead of manufactured damage.
Purchasing real reclaimed wood furnishings means you are helping give new life to old materials and passing on the emissions used in contemporary furniture creation.
5. Chemical-Free Furniture
Many furniture companies use chemicals in their production process, including polishes, adhesives and flame retardants. A lot of these chemicals contain semi-volatile organic compounds. Unfortunately, these chemicals can adversely affect the environment and human health.
To know whether or not a piece of furniture contains these chemicals, look up the company where it was produced. As with many areas of sustainability, there are organizations who will provide seals to companies meeting their environmental standards.
Green Seal is an example of one of these organizations ranking products on environmental sustainability.
Sourcing Green Furniture
It might seem overwhelming to search for sustainable furniture, but with a bit of research and planning, doing do will ensure you have a more eco-friendly home. Unsustainable furnishings contribute to climate change through their production and then again, when they end up in carbon-producing landfills.
Purchasing green furniture helps reduce your carbon footprint and preserve the environment for future generations.