With today's emphasis on the need for environmental conservation and sustainable living, more people are adopting green solutions when it comes to construction and choice of furniture. Eco-friendly or green furniture refers to furniture which is made from recycled, or sustainably obtained materials using environmentally responsible processes. Its materials and composition do not contain any toxic compounds which may have detrimental effects on human health, the economy, or the environment.
Here are some pointers on what to look for when choosing eco-friendly and sustainable furniture for your home or business.
Wood is one of the commonly used materials in making furniture. Some of the popular types of wood include fir, mahogany, cedar, chestnut, and cherry, among others. When using wood for your furniture, always ensure that it is certified by the forest department in your area. Certified wood is wood that has been obtained legally and meets the required environmental, economic, and social standards. By using uncertified wood, you could be indirectly contributing to deforestation.
Eco-friendly finishing touches
Stains and finishes are commonly used to improve furniture aesthetics. Some of these products are made using solvents with Volatile Organic Compounds, VOCs. Such compounds are considered environmental hazards once they are released into the air.
When choosing furniture finishes, go for natural finishes which contain natural raw ingredients such as beeswax, milk casein, natural latex, and mineral oils. Low-VOC and Zero-VOC finishes have little or no volatile organic compounds which are not harmful to human health or the environment.
Natural fiber in fabric
Most of the fabric used in furniture is made from cotton treated with pesticides, VOCs, dyes, bleaches, stain repellents, and other chemicals which may have adverse health effects when inhaled. Always go for fabric with untreated cotton, wool, or other natural material with eco-friendly dyes rather than synthetic ones.
Flame retardants are powder chemicals used in soft furnishings and upholstered furniture to meet flammability standards. These powder compounds fall off the furniture and mix in with the dust inside the house. When inhaled, they can result in severe respiratory complications as well as a host of other diseases. When buying eco-friendly furniture, always ensure that it doesn't contain flame retardants. You can also go for furniture with cotton or wool instead of foamed ones which usually have these chemicals.
Once you decide to go green, you should go green all the way, including with the type of furniture you use. These pointers should direct you when selecting eco-friendly furniture that will serve your needs without compromising on environmental safety.