Sustainable Spaces |Your Guide to an Eco-Friendly Home
Sustainable furniture comes in many different forms, is created in multiple different ways, and means a few different things. This guide will teach you how to be environmentally conscious while still remaining stylish in your interior design
To be considered “sustainable” furniture must contain a few different characteristics including, the materials used to create the product, the manufacturing process itself, and how the product was transported from design, to build, to your home.
What Materials are in Sustainable Furniture?
To create a sustainable space for you or your clients, the furniture needs to be made from recycled or repurposed materials. This includes anything that is made from materials that have previously been used for something else. To be considered sustainable, the materials should not contain any harsh chemicals or sealants.
One of the most popular sustainable materials is bamboo. Bamboo grows very fast and can be replaced very quickly, which is why it is one of the leading renewable materials for your furniture. Although often mistaken for wood, Bamboo is actually a tree-like grass and is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Luckily, it is durable, classic and it’s natural texture and color goes with almost any interior design.
Another sustainable material is wood. While many would argue that chopping down trees to furnish a home isn’t 100% sustainable, there are ways to choose sustainable wood products. Looking for timber that is harvested under the FSC-certified guidelines is a great start. The FSC, or Forest Stewardship Council, makes certifies products that are sourced in compliance with local laws and come from responsibly managed forests.
Sustainable Manufacturing and Fair Trade
To live in a green home, using sustainable materials is only one part of having completely sustainable furniture. Having a responsible manufacturing process is just as important.
Manufacturing processes, if not done correctly, can leave a pretty large carbon footprint. To avoid this type of destruction, look for products from companies curbing their carbon emissions as to not pollute the environment. Making sure they are not harming any communities in the process, especially not destroying any sensitive environments, is very important for the well being of the ecosystem.
Products from manufacturers that guarantee fair and just trading, is another way you can make sure your furniture is ethical. To guarantee fair worker compensation and treatment, look for products that are considered Fair Trade Certified or acknowledged by the World Fair Trade Organization. Since 1998, Fair Trade Certified purchases have sent $610 million to farmers and workers.
“The products you are getting are made in compliance with the 10 Principles of Fair Trade, which covers human and labour rights, as well as the buying and management processes that enable this.” -WFTO
Responsibility in transporting a product is the final step in producing a fully sustainable furniture. Transportation can take a lot of energy depending on how far it is being delivered, however, no matter the distance there is still energy being used.
This last step can sometimes prove a little difficult considering transportation is mandatory, but there are ways to make sure the transportation process is as sustainable as possible. If the furniture is being imported from somewhere else, make sure you look for companies that do so as efficiently as possible as well as those that do no use excessive space and energy.
The most energy-conscious way to receive your furniture is to buy from local stores to reduce the carbon footprint!
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Kathryn DiSanti is a member of the Content and Marketing team at Vishion. With a background in journalism and brand marketing, Kathryn loves to explore new places, spend time with her dog and enjoy time with friends!