There are several eco-friendly furniture manufacturing companies that use materials such as wheat and sunflower seeds to make their products. These companies then ships out all its waste products to others for reuse. Dairy farms use their sawdust for animal bedding, scrap lumber goes to power plants, and children's museums and day care centers are happy to receive their access fabric. Their motivation: an overall desire to improve the environment.
Evaporation of Volatile Chemicals
Green furniture is an emerging sector. It is the newest trend for furniture stores across the world. Made with reclaimed, recycled, renewable, whole body organic and non-toxic materials, green furniture are eco friendly and designed with the environment in mind. Be it for the bathroom, showers, kitchen cabinets, living room floors: all can be made from sustainable or recycled materials.
Why Go Green?
Materials such as paints, stains, varnishes, carpet, insulation, flooring, kitchen cabinets and countertops, plywood, particleboard, and paint strippers can be the cause of evaporation of volatile chemicals, or off-gassing, at normal atmospheric pressure. Off-gassing can start from the point of installation and continue for years.
Volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, the most common off-gassed chemical, have been linked to birth defects, endocrine disruption and cancer. Flame retardants and formaldehyde are common VOCs off-gassed by furniture. The problem becomes acute if your home or office is well insulated.
Green furniture is a good way to help maintain healthy indoor air quality. Sustainable designers consider waste as a form of design failure. They make furniture from material that is responsibly harvested from renewable resources, or use recycled materials in order to decrease landfill waste and preserve the planet’s vital forests. The consumers get comfortable, modern alternatives to furniture made from materials harvested by environmentally unsound methods.
From Sustainably Harvested Forests
Nearly half of the planet’s forested area, which is vital to the survival of diverse plant and animal species, soil health, and global climate, has disappeared in the past 8,000 years.
Without further messing around with wood, green furniture gets its raw material from sustainably harvested forests and sustainably harvested tree farms. “Sustainable” for furniture can mean made from organically grown materials or from recycled or reclaimed stock. It can also imply that the wood was either harvested from a managed forest, rather than a rain forest, or it is a renewable material, like bamboo.
Forest Stewardship Council and its largest forest certifier, the Rainforest Alliance , are the most widely used standards for sustainable forestry.
Ecologically Sound Material
Green furniture is made with as ecologically sound material as possible. Some are listed below:
Reclaimed wood are retrieved from old furniture, houses, wood scraps from a factory. Some even use logs sunk to the bottom of rivers as they are floated downstream to the sawmill. Either way, furniture made from reclaimed wood is a great example of resource efficiency, but usually comes in shorter supply. The Rainforest Alliance has a Rediscovered Wood certification label for products made out of such material.
One of the important features of green furniture is they can be easily repaired, dis-assembled and recycled. This ensures that they don’t end up in the landfill.
Recycled/recyclable metal and plastic
Metal and plastic are both eco-friendly materials for furniture as they are recyclable. Recycled aluminum too is being used for making furniture. With advancement in technology it is possible to get better quality recycled metal and plastic.
Bamboo is not a tree, it is grass and is stronger than oak. It does not shrink or swell (as hardwoods do) and have properties equal to conventional wood.
Grown without the use of pesticides, bamboo can grow two or more feet per day, and reaches maturity in about 4 years when it becomes 60 feet in height. In comparison commercial trees reach maturity in 25 to 70 years. Unlike hardwood trees which once cut are gone forever, bamboo need not be replanted as its renewable root system sends out shoots after each harvest.
Organic cotton is grown in certified pesticide-free and herbicide-free soil. The benefits of organic cotton are many:
- Healthier fabrics
- Preservation of water quality
- Toxin prevention
Hemp fiber can be spun into threads for making rope, twine, and cords, and it can be woven into clothing, fabrics, and linens, making it the most durable and eco-sensible crop on earth. Made without chemical pesticides or toxic fertilizers, hemp produces more fiber yield per acre than any other crop. One acre of hemp can produce as much usable fiber as 4 acres of trees or two acres of cotton Furniture fabrics of many green companies are made with hemp.
Eco friendly companies avoid leather completely as animals are subjected to all types of cruelty (confinement, branding, tail docking, horn removal, hormone and antibiotic injections, repeated breeding). Instead they use microfiber and faux leather substitutes.
Plywood takes just half a tree to make the same number of desks that 4 ½ trees would make if solid wood is used. It yields 8-10 times more usable wood from a log than can be made from solid lumber. Plywood furniture lasts longer than solid wood furniture. Look for Greenguard certification which ensures furniture is low toxicity.
For online purchase of green furniture visit IF Green Furniture
Green Office Furniture
With increasing demands for eco-friendly furniture from the corporate sector, government agencies and universities, buying eco-friendly desks, chairs, cabinets, space dividers, and other furniture is getting easier. Several companies are now going for furniture made from sustainably harvested woods and recycled, bio-based, or nontoxic materials, and made with glues, paints, foams, and other ingredients that don't give off noxious odors.
Traditionally manufactured furniture emits volatile organic compounds from glues, stains, and finishes. Green furniture use powder-based finishing coats, which not only are VOC-free, but require less energy and create less waste.
Many types of furniture, such as steel and particle-board products and chairs for office use are being made with recycled material. A number of leading-edge companies are also designing furniture that can be easily taken apart and fixed or recycled.
- Greening the Cube
- 'Green' furniture company turns wheat and straw into gold
- How to Green Your Furniture