The call for sustainability has both a serious side and a sham side. A lot of companies have been facing these calls. Sadly, half of these calls are made by ineffective parties seeking attention. However, those who are really being sustainable have no need to show anything off or explain everything.
There are numerous ways of making homes sustainable. It does not mean any radical overhaul but rather getting paint on time, adding a new coat of paint, major and minor renovations, plumbing and electrical works, etc. They are a component of making homes sustainable.
Another way of making homes sustainable is the usage of environment-friendly materials, energy-efficient appliances, and of course, water-saving technologies. There are homeowners who are mindful of their environment and surroundings. Project advisory professionals have also been mindful of such. However, they want to be sure if sustainability is real or not.
Another thing to note is that the future of sustainability is also present in a wide array of areas that can be addressed by homeowners, provided they want to be there. However, many are still wondering how their furniture is made and sourced, and how it is produced.
Those who haven’t changed their furniture for more sustainably sourced ones do not need to stress about it. They can buy sustainable ones when there is a need for them. Ranging from mattresses, beds, sofas, beddings, tables, commercial worktops and chairs to other furnishings, a lot of us need to understand the effects furniture has on the environment and health of people.
But there is a glimmer of hope and good news. The post will be sharing factors and sources to look for whenever people are looking for furniture.
The material life cycle
Let us now understand the material life cycle of furniture.
Materials that are sustainably sourced
Having furniture made from sustainable organic materials is one aspect of the industry but to be sufficient, the wood needs to be sourced from forests that are sustainably managed. It hence needs to be FSC certified and the forestry/lumber company bringing the wood should not be exploiting both lumberjacks and workers.
Such furniture is made using natural materials that are grown sustainably (for instance, bamboo, cotton, and rattan). They also do not include fabrics made using petrochemicals (nylon, polyester).
Moreover, people should also look for pieces using either recycled, up-cycled, or both kinds of content. Among them are reclaimed wood, plastic, or glass from recycling programs at the post-consumer level.
Ethical manufacturing practices and standards
People need to think about the energy consumed in producing furniture. Growing those materials, extracting them, producing them, and transporting them involves a lot of money. It should also be known that water takes energy for transportation, treatment, and proper disposal. Water efficiency is important, especially in light of water shortage.
During the production process, the carbon footprint should be minimal and it should offset emissions. No harmful chemicals should be used. Moreover, the packaging needs to be safe and free of harmful chemicals & other products (styrofoam for instance).
The furniture manufacturer should be a part of the Sustainable Furnishings Council. It is a worthwhile way of gauging the brand’s commitment to sustainability and minimizing adverse impacts on health and the environment.
If people can find manufacturers whose factories are certified by either Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) or Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS), then they’ll be able to find out who implemented a robust chain of control ensuring materials used live up to their certifications.
No toxins used
A lot of people are not aware of the level of toxicity in household items. Furniture is usually painted in paints and varnishes that aren’t safe. Volatile organic chemicals are released from a wide range of materials like finishes, paints, particle boards, plastics, plywood, and vinyl.
Hence people should look for furniture that uses non-toxic materials. They also need to look for certifications supporting the manufacturer’s health claims (GREENGUARD, Made Safe).
What happens to the materials at the end of their life cycle?
What happens to the materials when the product’s life cycle ends? In a lot of cases, they end up in landfills. Furniture that can be upcycled into other products, broken down into smaller stuff in a biodegradable manner. Its components should also be recycled, composted, or biodegradable enough to break up in landfills easily.
Which brands are sustainable in matters of furniture?
Thankfully there are companies that have done their part to ensure people and their loved ones live a sustainable life. Those brands are as under.
Known for making the Malibu and Mid-Century collections, Avocado offers options that can fit various styles customers have. Their Natural Wood collection features dressers made from 100% reclaimed wood, bed frames as well as end tables.
The brand has a zero-VOC ‘rustic raw’ sealant which seals all faults and nail holes of the reclaimed wood. Though minor nicks and blemishes are still present, the furniture is made in a climate-neutral certified plant and workshop in the Los Angeles metro area.
Sabai thinks beyond environment-friendly production. It offers customers a lot of confidence about the home reflecting values. The company is owned in majority by women and manufactures luxury furniture in the state of North Carolina.
The company uses materials like fabric from upcycled water bottles, 100% recycled fiber fill, and wood which is only FSC certified.
Room & Board
Room & Board is known to be a sustainable furniture maker. It uses well-sourced materials which are hard to find. A vast majority of their materials come from recycled components. They use approximately 99% recycled steel for their tables, make recycled plastic milk jugs for affordable outdoor furniture, and reclaimed (sustainably sourced) wood for designing indoor collections.
A quantum expert based in the UAE is in favor of sustainable furniture. Instead of wasting wood and other materials used in furniture, it is wise that materials be recycled and enriched. Moreover, reducing landfill waste is more helpful as it helps reduce the environmental impact.