5 Tips For Buying Eco-Friendly Furniture
1. Look for furniture made from sustainable and renewable sources such as bamboo, cork or from trees harvested from renewable forests in which trees are planted for those cut down. Certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is also a good indicator that the furniture is is Green and not “green washed” by the manufacturer to capitalize on the growing eco-decor trend.
2. Recycle, Re-purpose and Reclaim – three words to keep in mind when looking for environmentally friendly furniture. Many home furnishing manufacturers are now using reclaimed woods, while others like Zac Designs is using recycled plastics to create interesting tabletop products. As for repurposing, take a walk into any thrift store and let your imagination go wild. An old wood door can be converted into a chic coffee table – anything is possible when you unleash your creativity.
3. Buy locally if at all possible, doing so will reduce the carbon foot print required to transport the furniture. This is another reason to check out second hand stores for furniture you want, since that furniture has already made the trip once.
4. Avoid any furniture products created with particle board since formaldehyde is used to bind the wood particles. Formaldehyde is a volatile organic compound (VOC) and should be avoided. Also take note of paints and varnishes used on the furniture, as with the formaldehyde avoid VOC laden finishes. Seek furniture products finished with water-based or plant oil based products – they’re better for the environment and your respiratory health.
5. Ask for natural fibers (silk, wool, linen, cotton, hemp, bamboo) for furniture upholstery. Cushions can be filled with natural latex, organic cotton, wool, feathers and down or the relatively new eco-friendly foam (soy foam is becoming more widely available for use in sofa cushions and pillows).