Tips For Having Greener Furniture

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housing by woodleywonderworks via Flickr

Furniture takes a lot of raw materials to make – that’s the simple truth. However, it is possible to go green and buy more ethically sourced furniture.

Tip 1: Whatever Goes Around Also Comes Back Around

Recycle materials, such as plastic and metal, are fast becoming alternative options to wood furniture.  One of the main reasons why is that less processing is needed for recycled materials and fewer resources are used.  When searching for eco-friendly furniture, keep in mind that it should lend itself well to recycling, disassembly and easy repair.  Although manufacturing the materials does cause concerns for the environment, using plastics and recycled metals are great ways of going green.  It is easy to dismantle, sort and recycle these materials once their lives have come to and end and can then be used for something entirely different.

Interesting Fact: The amount of plastics found in municipal solid water increased from under 1 percent in 1960 all the way up to 12 percent in 2008.

Tip 2: We say Rattan and you say Wicker

Rattan is a palm species that has more resemblance of a vine than it does a tree.  It is a great alternative to wood.  It is easier to transport and harvest rattan than it is wood, and simple tools can be used for doing so.  In addition, it grows faster than a majority of tropical woods.  The plant’s skin is the part that’s used to weave into wicker.  It is highly durable, all weather, flexible and lightweight.  A majority of rattan is grown in the country of Indonesia where it is used for home building projects by the locals.

Interesting Fact: Rattan wood is being used by Italian scientists for creating a process to create artificial bone.  Small rattan pieces are put into a furnace and then heated up.  Carbon and calcium are added.  The “wood” then is heated with intense pressure and a phosphate solution is added.  The process produces a copy of the bone material.

TIP 3: Bamboozled

Like money, bamboo doesn’t automatically grow on trees.  Bamboo is a grass family that varies widely in terms of color and size.  It is durable and fast growing, making is a very versatile materials.  In fact, bamboo is the ideal “green” construction material.  It can be used for making all kinds of things – window blinds, clothing, furniture, flooring and even buildings.

A majority of bamboo is grown in China.  One thing to keep in mind is that some bamboo has pesticides used on it, so if you are searching to buy truly eco-friendly furniture, you will want to check with the retailer.

Interesting Fact: Some bamboo species are able to grow three or four feet per day.

TIP 4: Go Fetch

You can use reclaimed wood that comes from old houses, old furniture or other razed buildings.  You can also obtain it from scraps from factories or even from old longs sunk in the river bottom.  Driftwood is also a good choice, since on its ocean journey it has been worn smooth.  Wood is quite durable and is able to last a very long time without its integrity getting lost.  Therefore claimed wood is perfectly weathered already.

Interesting Fact: The carbon cost for utilizing reclaimed wood for interiors might save as much as 87% when compared to virgin timber products that are the equivalent.  Alternatively, you can just purchase vintage furniture – there are plenty of great stores on and offline selling vintage and reclaimed furniture items like these.

 

TIP 5: Certifiable

The FSC, The Forest Stewardship Club, inspects and monitors forest management.  It also issues certifications for forests that are well controlled.  The control of certified wood sources helps to ensure that indefinite growth can be applied to the situation instead of deforestation, where acres of forests are wiped out.  By purchasing furniture made out of sustainable wood, the damage to our eco-system drastically reduced.  So it will you be able to tell the difference between wood harvested out of vulnerable forests and sustainable wood?  Search for FSC Certified Products.