Eco Friendly Furniture Helps Reduce DeforestationDownload Audio Version
Eco-friendly furniture has become a popular choice for many people and is increasingly available today. Homeowners opt for green pieces for indoor and outdoor use, with materials ranging from recycled teak to certified bamboo.
Finding Green Furniture
Many homeowners go to demolition sales and junkyards to buy used furniture. It is not only the working poor that do this. Many people adopt frugal habits to minimize the effect that humankind and manufacturing have on the planet. Yard sales and local retailers are good places to find antique and used pieces.
Types of Furniture
Apart from used pieces, homeowners can buy furniture that is eco-friendly and is made from secondary tree species. Manufacturers also use non-VOC materials and non-toxic adhesives that are safe for the environment. There are different secondary species such as ma-drone, California oak, and others. They are used to produce chairs, tables, and sofas which helps protect primary forests, ecosystems, and endangered tree species.
Another option is to buy reclaimed furniture that is often made by local craftsmen. In contrast, mass produced pieces are often manufactured in factories all over the world. Reclaimed furniture is also more durable and stronger due to seasoning and air drying.
Bamboo is actually grass with antimicrobial properties. It is grown with no or few fertilizers and pesticides. Bamboo is resistant to fungi and pest infestations and is used to make bridges, boats, and other items. It is durable, strong, and fast-growing, which makes it a renewable source. Unlike bamboo, wood species need many years to grow and reproduce. In fact, hardwood species take up 50 years to grow and mature. Bamboo matures in 4 – 5 years and thrives in different climates and weather conditions. It requires less water than forest trees and is less expensive. An added benefit is that bamboo also produces more oxygen compared to other plants.
Manufacturers make furniture from wrought iron, plastic, and bamboo. It is durable and eco-friendly because only non-toxic adhesives are used. There are many items to choose from, including shelving, beds, chairs, dining tables, and outdoor pieces.
Natural products such as reeds, rattan, water hyacinth, and seagrass are used. It is designed for indoor use and should not be exposed to direct sunlight. The main benefits of wicker furniture are that it is durable and lightweight. Manufacturers offer items with aluminum frames which are even more durable. They are easy to carry around and come in different designs, styles, and sizes.
Manufacturers use different materials, including wood-plastic composites, post-consumer recycled wood and plastic, and organic materials. They also use safe dyes, sealants, and adhesives that reduce the risk for allergies. Pieces that are made from wood-plastic composite are durable, beautifully designed, and affordable. Some manufacturers also plant and grow trees to offset the negative effect of deforestation. They use dust-saw and recycled wood as well as renewable resources such as cork, hemp, and corn.
Hardwood vs. Eco-friendly Furniture
One of the major culprits for greenhouse emissions is deforestation. It contributes to land damage and increases the risk for tree and plant diseases. Soil erosion, climate, change, and temperature swings are also the result of illegal logging and deforestation. This is a serious problem in tropical areas and countries such as Indonesia, Congo, Brazil, and Thailand. Eco-friendly furniture is a better alternative to pieces made from hardwood. Green furniture helps conserve natural resources and is the preferred choice of conscious shoppers. Mass production is associated with unsafe labor practices and unsanitary working conditions. Workers spend long hours assembling chairs and tables and are often underpaid. Manufacturers that produce green furniture feature ecologically conscious, durable, and beautifully designed pieces. They use repurposed and recycled materials as well as organic products.
Mattresses and Materials
More and more homeowners are looking for organic mattresses and upholstered pieces. Green mattresses are made using latex and organic wool, without toxic materials and chemicals. Manufacturers offer mattresses from latex rubber, silk, wool, cotton, steel, and wood. Shredded coconut is also used to produce organic mattresses. Untreated wool is a good option because it is resistant to dust mites and other insects. It is also flame-resistant, absorbs moisture, and has thermal-regulating properties. In addition, untreated wool contains no flame retardants and toxic compounds. Latex mattresses are also a popular choice because they provide support and cushioning. They are also the best option for people who suffer from allergies. In addition to their hypoallergenic properties, latex mattresses are resistant to mold and mildew. This makes them a great choice for humid and hot areas. Opt for a product that has no chemical coatings or synthetic fillers. Latex and wool mattresses are expensive compared to conventional mattresses. Futons are an eco-friendly and affordable alternative.
The most important thing is to check the label for chemicals such as boric acid, petroleum-based polyester, nylon, and melamine. Some mattresses contain flame retardants and toxic chemicals that are associated with increased risks for cancer. Toddlers and babies spend 10 – 14 hours a day in bed, and parents should choose a mattress that is made from organic materials. When choosing upholstered furniture, check whether it is treated with harmful chemicals. Opt for sofas and chairs with latex foam and organic fabrics and avoid toxic stains, varnishes, and paints.
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