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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.

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Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.

While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.

One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.

1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.

4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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