Being green and eco-friendly is no longer limited to the few. In what seems like just a few years, consumer awareness about sustaining the health of the environment has rapidly increased and manufacturers for every type of product have jumped on the eco-friendly bandwagon. You can’t go shopping without seeing at least one eco-friendly product on the shelves. Home furniture is just one of those product categories that are touting eco-friendly properties. With all the costs that are associated with a home, including utilities bills, maintenance and home insurance, people are looking to invest in the best furniture that also aids in the health on the environment. When you see a piece of furniture that claims to be eco-friendly, it can be for a number of different reasons.
It is made of materials that are recycled or can be renewed rapidly.
Eco-friendly furniture may use materials that include recycled content, which has been produced from post-industrial or post-consumer waste. Old materials such as glass, plastic, metal and wood can be transformed and incorporated into new pieces of furniture. Furniture may also utilize materials that are considered sustainable, which means the resource can be grown at a rate that is equivalent or faster than the rate that is it being used or consumed. These sustainable or rapidly renewable materials prevent the depletion of natural resources and decrease harm to the world’s ecosystems. Companies may even package furniture with recycled or renewable materials and may use less packaging in general.
It is manufactured in a resource-efficient way.
Lots of handmade furniture can be considered as eco-friendly because of the less energy that is used compared to the energy it would take to run machines. An eco-friendly piece of furniture could also have been made in a plant that minimizes the use of natural resources like water and use energy in the most efficient ways. The building that the furniture is made in may have been built in a way that minimizes carbon emissions or utilizes alternative energy sources, such as solar power. Generally, furniture that requires little processing can be considered as eco-friendly also.
It is free of harmful chemicals.
Eco-friendly furniture should be made of materials that emit very few or no carcinogens, toxins, irritants or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For example, a piece of furniture covered in lead-based paint isn’t exactly eco-friendly because lead is a toxic metal, especially to small children who may ingest bits of the paint. Toxic compounds, such as some wood preservatives, and other compounds that deplete the ozone layer, should not be used during any phase of the production of eco-friendly furniture also.
It comes from companies that practice fair trade.
Fair trade refers to a social responsibility in paying producers and workers fair living wages for their products or work. The working environment is healthy and workers are not exploited for their labor for the sake of lower production costs. Sometimes, fair trade manufacturers provide workers from all over the world with much needed job opportunities so that they can afford a decent living.