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Eco-Friendly and Sustainable

Eco-friendly Sustainable Furniture Series

One of the most familiar terms one hears nowadays is Global Warming – how, due to man’s ways, we are leading the way to the destruction of our home – the planet Earth.  Due to this awareness, we are now at the advent of the “green revolution” where everyone is trying to find ways and means of doing something good for the environment (reducing our carbon footprint) – be it in the type of cleaners we use in our home, the kind of car we drive, the way our food is grown, as well as the type of appliances we use.  

With all these green products being the rage right now, eco-friendly furniture are slowly creeping its way up to the consumers’ mindset. And, why not? Furniture are the main components of our homes – its where we eat, where we sleep, where we entertain our friends, where we raise our family.  The type of furniture that we choose can have a great impact on everything around us – our forests, our economy and even our health.

Good thing, more and more designers are continuously in search of ways in manufacturing that will have a minimal impact on the environment. And one of the wonderful outcomes of creating sustainable furniture is that designers are keener into creating great designs for their work.

Before we move farther into examples of sustainable materials for furniture, what exactly is a sustainable furniture? What makes a furniture sustainable?

According to the Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC), a non-profit organization made up of manufacturers, retailers and consumers founded in 2006 whose aim is to promote sustainable practices, when buying furnishings for the home -- ask these questions:

·        What are the products made of?

·        Where and how were the materials procured?

·        If made of wood, was it legally harvested?

·        How are they processed into finished goods?

·        What is the environmental impact?

·        What will happen to the product after its served its purpose?

The SFC also developed guidelines to help consumers in identifying sustainable furniture.  The Life Cycle Analysis measures the product’s overall impact:

1)      Raw materials – what kind of materials are used in the making of this piece? Are these sourced locally? What kind of furniture finishes are used? Watch out for finishes which are high in volatile organic compounds (VOC) --harmful air pollutants.

2)      Production - How and where are these made? More energy is expensed in mass production as well as when the furniture is shipped from other countries.

3)      After life – can the piece still be used after it is done? Will it serve as a raw material for another product? Is it biodegradable? Take in mind that furniture accounts for a high percentage of waste in our landfills.

Now that you more or less know what makes a furniture sustainable, we can now move on to discuss the different materials from which such furniture are made of.

 

Sources:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/energy-efficiency/mass-produced-vs-handcrafted-furniture.htm “What’s more sustainable, mass-produced or handcrafted furniture?”

http://www.sustainablefurnishings.org/ Sustainable Furnishings Council