As the climate keeps changing for the worse, we are becoming more and more aware of the environmental damages and how they are adversely affecting. That’s why the campaign for environmental conservation has grown popular not only here in Australia but across the world. But what are the little things you can do at a personal level to make the planet safer?
Buying sustainable furniture is a role that every one of us can play in this campaign. Sustainable furniture is also called eco-friendly furniture or environmentally safe furniture. But what makes furniture sustainable? Well, there are a couple of things that make furniture eco-friendly. In this post, we have rounded up some of the key factors to look out for when buying sustainable furniture.
Here are the 5 things that make furniture sustainable:
1. Material Used
The first and the most important thing you need to check is the material used for the construction of the furniture. Several characteristics can tell whether the material is eco-friendly or not. The first thing to check is whether the material is recyclable. If the material can be re-purposed, then that is the kind of furniture that supports environmental conservation. Recycled woods and metal are some of the best examples.
Furniture made from renewable materials also fits in the sustainable category. Wood materials such as bamboo are an excellent choice because it grows faster, and thus, they are easy to replace. Not all wood is sustainable. For instance, it will take bamboo five years to mature and seventy years for an oak tree to mature. Unless it is reclaimed wood, avoid wood coming from trees that take a very long time to mature.
2. Environmentally friendly Manufacturing
Using sustainable materials is not enough to make a piece of furniture sustainable. You need to go further into the manufacturing process of the furniture. Is the manufacturing process safe for the environment? There are several things that you need to look out for. First, is whether the manufacturer is releasing harmful gases such as carbon emissions into the atmosphere? If that’s the case, then the furniture is not sustainable.
Don’t be confused if the manufacturer says that they are using electricity. You need to ask if it is clean electricity. Some of the electricity may be coming from diesel generators or a coal plant. These are electrical energy sources that contribute to the destruction of the environment. Hydro, geothermal, or solar electricity are some of the best green energy.
3. Mode of Transport
The other thing that makes furniture sustainable is the mode of transport. There are various ways that the transport of the finished product is done. So you need to pick the most environmentally friendly. Is the mode of transport energy efficient? Most people will use pick-ups and other types of cars to transport finished orders to their clients. You need to know the kind of cars used and if t is offering the best energy efficiency. The higher the efficiency of the mode of transport, the better. If they are using clean energy, the better.
However, you can do more to ensure minimal damage to the environment when buying environmentally-friendly furniture. The most effective way is buying locally or near your home or business. That means less energy will be needed to transport the furniture to your place. That is another factor that makes furniture sustainable.
4. The Usefulness of the Furniture
For the furniture to be sustainable, it should be useful to the user. It should also offer maximum functionality, ease of use, and comfort. The piece of furniture that you buy should also provide maximum versatility in application. For instance, you should buy a piece of furniture that is multifunctional since it takes less space. A good example is a sofa bed which can be used as a couch and a bed. Such pieces of furniture offer a greater utility to the user.
The other thing you need to look for in sustainable furniture is the durability. Eco-friendly furniture should last for a longer time. That means you will not need to replace every now and then. That is how you allow the environment to replenish itself before you can for another bamboo to construct new furniture. That’s what contributes to a healthy planet.
5. No VOC Finishes
The finish used is another factor that makes a piece of furniture sustainable or not. Some of the finishes contain very toxic solvents such as benzene that can be problematic to the environment. That is why no-VOC finishes are the best choice because they are water-based. Such finishes do nor off-gas hazardous organic compounds. These compounds not only damage the environment but also causes a wide range of respiratory and autoimmune conditions.
Buying environmentally friendly furniture is one way that you can contribute to a healthy environment. However, you need to look beyond the materials used and check other factors such as manufacturing process, finishes used, and so on. That’s how you will ensure that you are buying 100% sustainable furniture.