It is finally that time. You are getting your first place and you need to furnish your home. Or maybe this isn’t your first home, but your furniture is worn, dated, and past its life expectancy.
For sofas, the average life expectancy is anywhere between seven and fifteen years. The life of your mattress is roughly the same — seven to fifteen years, depending on the type and use. You can usually determine if a mattress or sofa has reached the end of its useful life it you behind to have body and back pains.
While looking for new furniture, it’s important to be conscious about the materials used and methodology during manufacturing process. Let’s take a further look into what eco-friendly furniture is.
What is Eco-Friendly Furniture
In order to find eco-friendly furniture, it is important to understand what eco-friendly is.
Eco-friendly furniture is furniture that has the least amount of negative impact on the environment, and potentially made from recycled materials. The elements of green furniture are natural and recycled materials, preferably sourced locally, and have no fire retardants or harsh chemicals. Sourcing locally will help reduce the carbon footprint in the manufacturing and transportation of goods.
Just as you would look at the back label of your food to analyze its contents, you should also check the ingredients of your furniture. Certified sustainable wood is produced by sustainably harvested forests, tree farms, and reclaimed wood.
Besides reclaimed wood, bamboo is also a great source of material for furniture because of its versatility and its ability to grow quickly. Bamboo forests are, therefore, much easier to maintain. I should mention that bamboo isn’t even a tree. In fact, it’s a grass, which could explain its rapid growth rate. The reason bamboo is the poster child for green materials, apart from being green, is because of its durability and flexibility.
Although, quality material might be more expensive, it is usually lasting. An alternative to new is vintage. I suppose it would be fitting to say, they don’t make things like they used to. If a vintage piece has survived this long, you can depend on its durability. Vintage furniture does not require the use of extra materials, unless refurbished, and with no added cost to our forests and tree farms.
Where You Can Find Eco-Friendly Furniture
Location, location, location. The closer to home the better. Particularly, your nearest used goods store or thrift shop. Remember that sourcing materials, manufacturing, and retail space in close proximity is essential in reducing our carbon footprint and finding eco-friendly furniture. Learn how to decorate you home the green and eco-friendly way and make sure you are doing your part to reduce your carbon footprint!
If you have hit all of the local thrift and vintage furniture stores and still haven’t found anything that meets your taste, here are the names of some popular retailers that offer eco-friendly products.
1. Sierra Living Concepts is a furniture company based in California. As part of their mission, they are committed to the use of sustainable materials and methods. Mango wood and hemp are just a few of their eco-friendly materials.
2. Eco Balanza is well known for their sofa and sectional offerings. While their design and comfortability are key features of their products, they are also committed to using FSC certified materials. That is, materials made from responsible forest and tree farm harvests. Fabrics are also made from recycled materials.
3. Bambeco’s core values are based on forest preservation and restoration, fair wages and a safe workplace, and clean water with water conservation. The company itself, in its lifetime, has planted over 20,000 trees to date. Needless to say, Bambeco is committed to making your home and cleaner and greener environment.
4. Etsy Reclaimed Furniture has nearly two million different vendors as of 2017. Each of which, carry a variety of product. Many vendors utilize reclaimed materials for original repurposed goods including furniture. Etsy reclaimed furniture is an excellent outlet to find unique hand crafted pieces as well as helping small business.
5. Crate & Barrel offers furniture collections that feature FSC certified pieces as well as a numerous amount of bamboo products. Remember, bamboo is one of the most sustainable materials to source from because of its longevity and fast growth.
How to Dispose of Your Old Furniture
Before you throw away your old furniture, consider the condition and whether or not it would be acceptable for donations. Not only are you saving the piece from rotting in a waste pile, but you’re also helping someone who needs it. You can drop your furniture off at Goodwill, Salvation Army, or any other local charity.
If you decide not to donate, you can also put up your furniture for resale. That way you can have a bit of spending money for your new eco-friendly furniture. Make sure that the piece is still clean and in a usable condition before selling.
If your furniture is made of wood or metal, you can recycle the material at the nearest large recycling dump. Before taking your sofa to the recycling bin, consider repurposing the fabrics and leathers for other crafty projects. Fabrics and leathers can also be recycled separately from the frame. Who knows, maybe the fabric in your couch might reappear in your new shirt made from recycled materials.
Although, there are many other retailers that offer green furniture, I hope that this will provide you with sound foundation to begin your search. Your home should reflect perfectly who you are and the style you have. Maybe your furniture adventure will encourage your friends and family to consider turning their home into a greener and cleaner one.
Do you have eco-friendly furniture or have any tips or ideas about how to recycle furniture? Please share them in the comments section!