Furniture can have a negative impact on the environment. It may not be obvious from the appearance of a couch in a living room, but one must ask: how was it built? Where did the materials come from? How was the base cut and built? How were the cushions stitched together? Sometimes learning the background will reveal that it was built with machines that polluted the environment in the process. Also it might be discovered that the removal of the trees used for the couch’s wood contributed to the massive deforestation in an area, which affected the homes and lives of wildlife.
Not all furniture is hazardous to the environment. Today there are many companies that pledge to have a line of green furniture, which is specialty furniture that is made from eco-friendly materials and was constructed in a way that does not cause pollution. Green furniture can be found at most large furniture stores, but the best way to shop for it is to visit small, specialty retailers or search the internet.
There are various types of green furniture. One of the most popular is recycled furniture. Recycled furniture isn’t as simple as buying someone else’s used sofa, rather it refers to a piece of furniture built from the still-sturdy pieces of old furniture. In a way, recycled furniture is a hodgepodge of wood from other items. As recycled furniture is usually built from older pieces, it usually has a more antiquated appearance than the newest item on the market and can be a perfect fit for some homes.
Recycled furniture doesn’t necessarily have to be made from wood either. Many metal sofas, sectionals, tables, chairs and bed frames are still very solid after other parts of the furniture sink or are considered otherwise unusable. Recycled furniture artists can reuse and reconstruct this metal to make a unique addition for any home.
Another type of earth friendly furniture is natural furniture. Natural furniture is not made from recycled material at all but rather from renewable resources and built with machines that also use eco-friendly, renewable resources. The three most common materials uses in natural furniture are wood, bamboo and hemp. Wood being included on this list may seem contradictory, but as long as the wood is harvested in the correct manner it will not be detrimental to the environment or wildlife. Bamboo is perhaps an even better option than wood. The reason for this claim is that bamboo is similar in sturdiness to wood but it grows back very, very quickly. Some green furniture companies use it exclusively, considering it the ideal building material.
If there are any pieces of furniture that aren’t being used in your home, consider having them refurbished. It will save you the trouble of lugging it out to the junkyard, and if you choose to keep the piece of furniture after it is refurbished, it will save you time and money that would otherwise be spent furniture shopping. In addition to saving time and money and preventing physical exertion, having your eco friendly furniture refurbished provides a great feeling of making a positive difference. If every household in America refurbished one old piece of furniture instead of buying a brand new one, the environment would benefit in a very noticeable way.
Visit the following pages for more information on green furniture:
- Greenest City – Learn what construction practices need to be followed in order to call a piece of furniture “green.”
- Tips for Buying Green Furniture (PDF) – Look over these tips before you throw out that old cradle or go shopping for new window shutters.
- Going Green Program – The official website for the U.S. Government’s Purchasing Alliance and their dedication to erasing our carbon footprints.
- Furniture Donation Network – A charity program that collects used furniture, but only in the best of conditions.
- ReStore – Some tips to consider when buying green furniture.
- The Green Project – A retailer of disassembled building materials that promotes reuse. They even hold contests to see who can build the best piece of green furniture.
- Center for American Progress – Determining your needs in terms of buying green furniture and parting with old items in an eco-friendly manner.
- How to Green Your Furniture – An article that lists the top ten eco-friendly furniture tips and provides statistics based on furniture sales and money invested.
- What is Green Furniture? – If you’re only going to buy furniture every now and then, why not invest in items that are good for the environment and for your health.
- Eco Mall – What is wrong with traditional furniture? After reading this article you will want “comfort without consequences.”
- Stay Informed – What certifications to look for on green furniture.
- The Daily Green – Eighteen examples of how green furniture can be gorgeous.
- Sierra Club – Tips for using eco-friendly furniture at home and what you should consider while you’re out furniture shopping.
by: Bruce Tucker