What Is Sustainable Furniture?

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What Is Sustainable Furniture?

Staff Writer · Feb 11, 2010

Sustainable furniture Is furniture that is eco friendly or is made of woods that follow strict regulations with regards to the replenishment of forests. Furniture is also considered sustainable if it uses recycling as a way to cut down on carbon emissions and minimize environmental damage. Items of sustainable furniture, when made from forests, come from plantations which follow stringent guidelines in the harvesting of trees. Furniture that is made from these woods must meet FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) standards and isn’t considered “sustainable” unless production is thoroughly tracked through the supply chain including the manufacturing processes involved in making the furniture.

Reclaimed Wood

Many pieces of sustainable furniture are made from vintage reclaimed wood. This wood comes from buildings slated for destruction, natural disaster sites and orchards that have proven to be unproductive. What is advantageous about using this type of wood is that it won’t warp or shrink as it’s had time to settle. On average, reclaimed wood is typically about 50 to 100 years old and has acquired a natural aged patina that adds to the furniture’s beauty. Reclaimed wood reduces deforestation, especially in the rain forest, and the erosion of the soil that subsequently results from harvesting. Therefore, tropical woods are not used in sustainable furniture.

Non-Toxic Stains and Glues

No toxic materials, such as stains and glues, goes into the manufacture of sustainable furniture. Furniture is finished and produced with water-based stains and glues that are free of formaldehyde. Neither is particle board used in the manufacturing process. When building a wood piece of furniture, the most natural organic materials are used.

Bamboo Furniture

Bamboo is an excellent resource used in the production of sustainable furniture. More durable than oak, bamboo is a grass that assists in reducing deforestation and preserving the environment. While bamboo only takes four years to reach full maturity, a commercial tree can take approximately six times that long  before it’s ready to harvest. In addition, bamboo’s root system is such that it begins new shoots after each harvest which also aids in reducing and preventing erosion. Pesticides aren’t required to grow bamboo and the grass produces more oxygen than trees. Therefore, bamboo is a superb product to use in the manufacture of sustainable furniture.

Aluminum

The use of post industrial and commercial aluminum is also utilized in the production of sustainable furniture. Many contemporary pieces of furniture then can be chosen from this kind of furniture that will work well in an apartment. By using recycled aluminum, erosion is lessened and landfill usage is reduced.

Giving New Life to Old Furniture

Sustainable furniture can also be defined by the furniture we recycle ourselves for use in our apartment homes. Give an old table you find at a thrift shop a new purpose and you have purchased a piece of sustainable furniture. Also, by recycling or refurbishing plastic furniture, metal furniture or antique wood furniture, you are adding sustainable furniture to your decor. By doing so, you’re providing a way of reducing the harm done to the environment by reducing the amount of materials going into landfills that should be recycled.

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