It can be tempting to view the concept of eco-friendly furniture as just one more millennial environmentalist fad that just like that of gluten free foods, will fade into obscurity sooner than later. But this method is proving to be beneficial on so many levels.
This article examines for you what constitutes eco-friendly furniture, the processes that are used in its construction, how materials are sourced, how the furniture is assembled and what potential benefits it has both to your home and the environment in general.
What is Eco-Friendly Furniture?
The question of what is and what isn’t eco-friendly furniture has to do with defining what constitutes environmentally friendly furniture. Simply put, it is “any piece of furniture whose sourcing of materials, assembly, transportation and construction does little to no harm to the environment.”
This means that the pieces should be made from materials that are sourced sustainably, assembled with eco-friendliness as a focal point and requiring little to no environmental footprint heavy transport. It is a whole new approach to furniture making and is very 21st century in its methods and techniques.
More and more furniture brands are incorporating the principle of eco-friendliness into their furniture as the world as a whole adopts a greener approach to lifestyle and general living.
What Materials are Eco-Friendly and How They are Sourced
Just as with every other aspect of a green lifestyle, environmentally friendly furniture requires a purposeful direction on many levels, one of which is sourcing of materials. The starting point for this should ordinarily be wood.
Since early civilization, wood has only become more and more sought after as the most used material in furniture and construction and now more than ever, the strain of human demand for this product without a corresponding supply increase, is palpable in the planet’s ecosystem. Deforestation has now become commonplace, ripping apart the ecological balance of our various forests.
Eco-friendly wood counteracts the aforementioned as it is usually sourced from reclaimed timber, sustainably harvested wood from forests and sustainably harvested wood from timber farms (perhaps the most environmental friendly source). The main goal with the sourcing of wood is it has to have as little impact on the environment as possible. Bamboo has also emerged, in recent times, as a viable alternative to wood.
Furniture designers have become enamored with its workability and maneuverability and although it is technically grass, has gone on to become a material of choice with environmentalists because of its low cost to the environment. It can be pressed into veneers, sliced to make window slides and even molded into furniture.
In the case of other materials such as the filling for an eco-friendly sofa, an option would be CertiPUR-US® certified foam or natural latex, which is pure and resistant to bacteria, mildew and mold. It’s all about reducing harsh chemicals for your home and protecting the planet.
The assembly and construction of furniture is also another determinant in whether it is eco-friendly or not. More often than not, organic glues are used to bond the pieces together as opposed to a more harmful synthetic chemical.
Also a consideration in the topic of assembly is the cost of transportation to the environment. Furniture made and assembled thousands of miles away from where they are finally used have a very heavy cost on the environment due to release of greenhouse gases from the various vehicle in which they will be transported.
Benefits of Eco Furniture
These are perhaps innumerable but a few can be mentioned. Furniture is a very high demand product and the responsible sourcing of the materials used therein means that the ecological balance of the planet can be preserved, with the plant and animal life that depend on trees to survive flourishing as they should.
This in turn means that even if with baby steps, ozone depletion and warming of the earth’s atmosphere can be curbed and the weather imbalances that cause floods and hurricanes can be put in check. More trees also means in general cleaner air and an incalculably richer supply of Oxygen to the Earth’s soil.
Non Toxic Furniture and Home Friendly Furniture
Simply put, eco-friendly furniture is home friendly furniture. The processes involved in the manufacture means that in addition to furniture pieces being safe for the environment, they are also safe for the home as well.
Furniture makers usually shy away from the use of harmful chemicals such as fire retardants and chloroform in favor of just natural, oil-based finishes.
Going the way of environmentally friendly furniture, quite simply, is going the right way. It might be a little more expensive but in the long run is the wiser, more responsible way to go.