How to Find Eco-Friendly Furniture
Whether you’re getting your first place, downsizing, or moving to a new city, it’s also probably time for you to invest in new furniture. When furniture is manufactured, many toxins and harsh chemicals are released into the air and sometimes at the risk of our health. Not just our health, but the health of our environment, the planet as a whole.
However, there are alternative to help improve the health our environment and the health of our own. That is, through eco-friendly furniture, but what is eco-friendly furniture exactly?
Glad you asked.
Eco-friendly furniture is furniture that has the least amount of negative impact on the environment. Furniture that is made from recycled and natural materials, preferable materials sourced locally, and have no fire retardants or harsh chemicals. These are a few of the elements that consider furniture to be green furniture. The importance of sourcing materials locally is that we can reduce our footprint during the manufacturing and transportation process.
As you begin your search for new furniture, make sure to check the materials used to build each piece just as you would check the ingredients of food.
Make sure that the wood stains of the furniture are eco-friendly. This element is often overlooked. As wood stains dry, some of the toxins are released through evaporation, which contributes to health and pollution issues. There are, however, non-toxic stains you can find at most hardware and home improvement stores.
It is also just as important to understand where the materials come from. Particularly, whether or not the wood was sourced from a sustainable tree farm or forest harvest. Certified sustainable wood is produced by sustainably harvested forests, tree farms, and reclaimed wood. Besides reclaimed wood, bamboo is also a great source of material for furniture because of its versatility and its ability to grow quickly. Bamboo forests are, therefore, much easier to maintain.
Eco-friendly furniture isn’t only limited to dressers, sofas, and coffee tables. You can also find eco-friendly mattresses as well. Some of the non-organic mattress can contain several toxic chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), formaldehyde, decabromodiphenyl oxide, boric acid, antimony trioxide, melamine, silicone, polyvinylidene, chloride, phthalates, and lead. Organic mattresses can include certified organic wool, which is naturally fire resistant, organic cotton, and natural latex, while maintaining a lifespan of 15 years.
Eco-friendly furniture can also be found as second hand items. Vintage furniture doesn’t require any extra materials to build a piece, which is why it is the best alternative to eco-friendly woods, wood stains and recycled fabrics. After all, vintage furniture is recycled furniture that didn’t have to be processed again.
Where to get eco-friendly furniture
Remember that sourcing materials, manufacturing, and retail spaces in close proximity are essential in reducing our carbon footprint and finding eco-friendly furniture. Because vintage furniture is typically the most sustainable, be sure to check out your local thrift and used goods store. If you can’t find anything that meets your style, there are a number of popular retailers that offer eco-friendly furniture.
- Sierra Living Concepts is based in California. Their mission is committed to the use of sustainable materials and methods. Mango wood and hemp are just a few of their eco-friendly materials.
- Eco Balanza is well known for their sofa and sectional offerings. They are also committed to using non toxic chemicals and FSC certified materials that are made from responsible forest and tree farm harvests. Fabrics are also produced from recycled materials.
- Bambeco’s core values are based on forest preservation and restoration, fair wages and a safe workplace, and clean water with water conservation. The company has planted over 20,000 trees to date.
- Etsy Reclaimed Furniture has many vendors that reclaimed materials to create original repurposed goods. That includes furniture. Etsy reclaimed furniture is great for finding unique hand crafted pieces.
- Crate & Barrel offers sustainably made furniture collections that feature FSC certified pieces as well as a numerous amount of bamboo products. Remember, bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials to source from because of its longevity and fast growth.
- Saatva handcrafts each of their mattresses. Their mattresses are made of organic cotton, recycled steel for the inner spring, and are chemical free.
There are still many other retailers that offer green furniture. I hope that this will provide you with sound foundation to begin your search. Your home should reflect perfectly who you are and the style you have (just as long as it’s green).
By Alex Leaf.