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.
Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family
When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?
What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?
As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.
Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.
5 Good Options
As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:
1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country
Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.
2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica
If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.
3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.
4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid
While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.
5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel
If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?
Putting it All Together
You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.
You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.
How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life
Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense. But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?
For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out. A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession. This bigger issue was that of climate change. And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.
Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more. He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland. There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.
The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done. With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet. The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind. As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness. The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small. The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty. As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.
We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help. And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet. Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change. You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed. But so is he. Every change starts with one.
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