Eco friendly furniture needn't mean boring or utilitarian items -- there are a wide range of options available to someone interested in green living.
Furniture traditionally hasn´t been particularly eco-friendly. Many items of furniture are made from wood, and this has not always been grown as part of a sustainable program. This hasn´t been so much of an issue in the past, as furniture was built to last and a single item of furniture would be passed through many generations of a family. Therefore many years of use would come from a single item - sometimes hundreds of years.
Low Cost Furniture
The trend over recent years, however, has been towards mass produced low cost furniture that is sold without any expectations of a long life and with a view to being changed regularly. The effect on the environment, however, can be significant. Besides the resources and energy used to create new items of furniture, consideration needs to be given to the packaging - often paper and plastic that goes straight to landfills, and, of course, the mileage that is clocked before an item even reaches the stores. Many low cost furniture items are not made in the U.S. Add to this the mileage involved in actually delivering furniture to stores and then to its final destination, plus the mileage incurred by the consumer as they shop around and the amount of carbon emissions generated starts to get significant, increasing our carbon footprint.
What is Eco Friendly Furniture?
Eco friendly furniture is furniture that is created in a manner that has minimum negative impact on the environment. This means that where wood is used, it has come from renewable sources and any chemicals used in the process do not pollute or harm the environment. Additionally, minimum resources are used, including keeping delivery and mileage to as low a level as is feasible.
Environmentally friendly furniture can also be used to describe furniture that has been created from recycled items. This is green living at its very best! Furniture made from recycled materials are the ultimate green combination of creating something new and exciting from discarded and unused items. This keeps rubbish out of landfills and reduces the need to burn precious energies used by creating something from virgin resources. Ideal materials that can be recycled into furniture are floor boards, railway sleepers and wood cladding.
When considering eco friendly furniture, do not overlook secondhand items -- great items can often be found at garage sales and thrift shops. These, again, are extremely environmentally friendly, with the added benefit of often being low cost and many times, unique.
Buying Eco Friendly
Many stores now sell a range of eco-friendly products and if they don't, make sure to ask! It is through customer pressure that many stores are extending their range of green items.
There are some exciting and innovative green furniture designers whose designs can be found in online stores. These can provide an excellent source of inspiration and demonstrate how green living need not be boring or old fashioned.
Other Ways of Being Environmentally Friendly with Furniture
Are there any alternatives to buying new furniture? Is it simply the fact that the old furniture is looking a bit tired and worn? There are many ways of giving furniture a new lease on life. Soft furniture can often be reupholstered for a far lower cost than buying new, and there are some exciting and contemporary eco friendly furnishing fabrics available. Soft furnishings can also be updated by the use of a few new throws and cushions. These are often available in environmentally friendly materials.
Sometimes it takes a little imagination, however there are often creative ways of reusing old items!
Buying eco friendly furniture is an important part of green living and is a very rewarding purchase. The increasingly wide range of styles and options available means that there is bound to be an option to meet every taste!