Go Green! Furnish your home with the best Green furniture!
Let us start by learning what actually is green furniture. Green furniture are products that are made from materials that have been sourced in an environment friendly way. For instance, materials from sustainable forests, materials which have low toxic material levels and also furniture that have been locally manufactured and are durable.
Here we bring you a few key points to keep in mind before investing in Green Furniture:
1. Furniture made from Certified Sustainable wood.
Wooden furniture makes you think twice as you know some form of deforestation has led to that magnificent furniture adorning your home. So how do you manage to get green wooden furniture? The good news is that there are sustainable ways to harvest wood. The main sustainable sources of wood are from
· Sustainably harvested forests
· Sustainably harvested tree farms
· Reclaimed wood
This way you get the best of both worlds. There is a great standard of certification through Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that controls clear cutting.
2. Furniture made from reclaimed materials
Sources of reclaimed wood are – old furniture, houses or other built things, flawed wood or scraps from factory manufacturing other goods. Other sources of reclaimed wood include the logs that have sunk to the bottom of the river or man-made reservoirs. The obvious question that comes to one’s mind is the quality of furniture that results from reclaimed wood. To answer that for you- Wood really lasts a long time with a little care and then there is a Rediscovered Wood Certification label (through The Rainforest Alliance) that should put your doubts to rest.
3. Bamboo Furniture
Buying Bamboo furniture could get a little tricky at times. Let us get the negatives out of our way – Bamboo harvesting uses a lot of water and too fast a harvesting can also deplete the soil of its fertility. Another point to keep in mind is the glue that is used to put together the furniture may sometimes contain formaldehyde which brings to mind the question of how green the furniture actually is. That said Bamboo has its own advantages. To start with, it grows really fast. It is a very versatile material as it can be flattened into flooring, molded into furniture, pressed into veneers and sliced up to make window blinds. To add to that, they are grown without pesticides and the Bamboo forests are easier to maintain because of their rapid growth.
4. Furniture that can be recycled and disassembled
The benchmark of a good eco-friendly furniture is the ease with which it can be repaired, disassembled and recycled. There are products which can be easily taken apart and sorted into their constituent part and then finally recycled. An example of such furniture are the products certified by Cradle to Cradle product regimen. The best thing to do here is to stay away from furniture made of inseparable amalgam of materials.
5. Furniture that is durable
Green furniture or for that matter any furniture ought to be durable. It really defeats the purpose of buying green furniture if one has to shop for a replacement every now and then. The ideal piece of furniture would be the one which is durable and eco-friendly.
6. Furniture that is small and flexible
With space constraint being a reality for most of us, it makes sense to have furniture that can be folded up or stored easily when not in use. For instance, a dining table with drop leaves can be adjusted in size according to the number of persons dining, similarly a transformer furniture can be changed from a coffee table to a dining table as and when needed.
7. Low or non -toxic furniture
Here is something that not all of us have spared a thought about. Furniture often release substances into the air which is also known as offgasing. All furniture offgas irrespective of the material they are made up of. Furniture made of synthetic material or treated with synthetic material are known to offgas Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC)that are toxic chemicals. VOCs have been linked to numerous serious health conditions. The best way to avoid these toxins is to either look for a Greenguard Certification which ensures low toxicity in furniture or buy vintage furniture which would have already offgased to a good extent.
8. Furniture devoid of flame retardants
The Disadvantages of flame retardants are far more than their advantages. Going by the name one would be tempted to believe that the flame retardants prevent the furniture or upholstery from burning in the event of a fire. This is far from the fact. In fact, flame retardants hardly make a difference to mitigate the burning once the furniture is lit. Instead they release exceptionally high amounts of toxic chemicals. Flame retardants are powders which fall off the furniture and mix with the dust in the house, which is in turn ingested in some form by the pets and children who are low to the ground and are likely to lick things.
9. Vintage furniture
Modern furniture fades in comparison to quality vintage furniture. There are quite a few reasons which make them the best and ideal green furniture to go in for. The first of them being that the pre-owned vintage furniture do not need any additional manufacturing resources, in being already manufactured. Then, they are, more often than not, locally sourced which again cuts down on the transportation. Lastly and may be also most importantly, they are already offgased to a great extent, so when you buy them, you are done away with most of the toxins.
10. Local furniture
This is more of common sense than anything else. The greenest of furniture, if transported over a few hundred miles would create enough pollution and would cost more than what the actual furniture would have cost environmentally. It sure makes sense to buy furniture locally and support local economy. It would also be more cost effective than sourcing exotic luxury furniture from faraway land.