Understanding the importance of green furniture materials is to understand the future of furniture.
It's important to start using green furniture materials now because the purchases you make today for your home will impact the sustainability of your house tomorrow. Shopping for green furniture will also impact the environment around you. Shopping sustainably is vital to getting our earth healthier and back on track.
Avoid Fast Furniture
Unfortunately, a lot of companies sell products that are not made to last. Those companies and their products have an incredibly detrimental effect on the environment. Their impact is so great on the earth that it’s almost irreversible...
You've heard of fast fashion by now, but have you heard of fast furniture? If you haven't heard of it, you've definitely seen it in commercials or pop-up ads online. Fast furniture is all about direct-to-consumer products.
Think, "faster, cheaper, higher rate of consumption," as a motto for fast furniture companies. The cheaper the materials, the quicker it is for companies to create and ship out their pieces, and the faster you’re wearing them out and then shopping for more.
The cheaper the materials, the faster the furniture wears and breaks, and the quicker you need to buy more. See the trend here? There is a cycle that fast furniture creates, and it's not an accident.
The truth is that furniture is one of the fastest-growing landfill categories in the country. Wrap your head around 12 million tons, and you're getting close to the amount of waste that fast furniture has created…. and counting.
Sometimes, furniture doesn't even end up in landfills. It just sits on sidewalks and street corners, polluting the world around us.
This is why it's important to start using green furniture materials. Green furniture materials don’t end up in landfills because they can be recycled or reused, and therefore they reduce waste.
When you use green furniture materials, your furniture can last generations. The quality and durability of your furniture increase tenfold, and the chances that your furniture ends up in a landfill are close to none. Why make your impact more than ‘none’?
Out of Sight, Can’t Be Out of Mind With Furniture
We have to start thinking about the objects we buy as having lived beyond the amount of time that we own them. When you’re a kid, you develop an understanding of object permanence around the age of two. We learn that when an object is hidden behind someone's back or shoved under a bed, that it doesn’t disappear into thin air.
However, for some reason, it seems we all have trouble understanding object permanence when it comes to non-sustainable furniture. When you throw something away, specifically furniture, it doesn't disappear into thin air.
“Out of sight, out of mind,” or the famous “Ignorance is bliss,” is, unfortunately, the phenomenon that’s happening here.
The non-sustainable furniture waste you create goes through a long series of processes to end up in many possible locations that consistently pollute land, oceans, and air.
Google ‘Furniture Landfills’ To Get a Visual Understanding
When you throw non-sustainable furniture away, it ends up in a landfill, and parts of it may end up in the ocean. Furniture is the number one household item that wastes away in landfills. If you google furniture landfills, you can see why sustainable furniture is important for the environment.
When you purchase furniture, clothing, or objects made of sustainable materials, there's a lot that can be done with the object or furniture once you’re done using it.
Purchase Furniture That Can Be Recycled
Since furniture made with sustainable materials is durable, you can pass your furniture on to someone after you’re done using it, which is one form of recycling. If one day that individual gets tired of that piece of furniture, they can ell it to a second-hand furniture store or fully recycle it for materials.
Furniture that can be recycled has a chance at a second life, or even a third. Your couch can be recycled into cloth or a blanket, or your coffee table can be recycled to one day become hardwood floors.
Green Furniture Companies Care About You
Sustainable furniture is created by companies using materials that don't negatively impact the environment and avoid polluting the environment.
Some sustainable companies also create furniture with local materials or have local manufacturing warehouses that save the environment from transportation emissions and pollution. By creating their products locally, green furniture companies make use of what’s nearby without having to rely on shipping.
Green Furniture Is Safer for Your Health
A vital safety factor of green furniture is keeping your home free of chemicals. When you shop for non-sustainable furniture, you're often bringing chemicals and pollutants into your home via the stains and sealant applied to the furniture. These stains and sealants can cause serious health issues in your household.
Furniture with these pollutants can cause several health issues upon exposure, making the air in your home more toxic. Now that we're all spending more time indoors, it's important to consider this factor when you look around your living room at your current furniture or begin shopping to furnish your new bedroom.
The most important thing you can do for yourself? Your research.
Research furniture companies, their products, what they sell, how they sell it, how they obtain materials, and how their products are crafted. If it’s hard to find answers to your questions, they’re probably answers the companies don’t want you to know.
Higher Prices Aren’t a Rip Off
Modloft is an exceptional example of a company that believes in sustainable furniture. From coffee tables to sofas, the materials used to craft Modloft furniture are sustainable. Materials like solid wood, glass, natural wood veneer, and ceramic are all materials Modloft uses to craft their minimalist furniture for your home. You can even see who’s crafting and designing your pieces on our website.
Time and time again, individuals are turned off by the higher prices of sustainable furniture. However, the price you pay upfront for sustainable furniture is way better than the price you pay down the road.
Here’s How To Shop Green
Modloft's goal, much like other sustainable furniture companies, is to design furniture that can be used in a closed-loop cycle for recycling. The idea behind this is that the furniture they create can be disassembled, reused, and reduced as an environmental impact.
So how do you find sustainable furniture… and how do you know if it's actually friendly for the environment? Many companies tend to claim that their furniture is eco-friendly or uses green materials. Still, if you do your research, you can learn about the specific certifications and qualifications furniture companies need in order to be deemed sustainable.
Look for Certifications
When shopping for sustainable furniture, consider the price of the piece and the materials it's made of. If prices are low and the furniture is made of materials like plastics, don't bring it into your home.
If you see a piece of furniture from somewhere far away, leave it behind. Pieces of furniture that have to be shipped by plane or boat, and then driven across the country by truck, are using energy that is polluting the environment.
When shopping for sustainable furniture, look for certifications like C2C (which stands for cradle-to-cradle), Green Label Plus, LEED, SBD (which stands for Sustainable By Design), and Zero Waste To Landfill. Just remember to look!
Make Sure There’s No Outsourcing
A lot of fast furniture companies outsource their products. When these companies outsource, they tend to work with manufacturers that pay their employees less than minimum wage. In the U.S. each year, more than 250,000 jobs are outsourced, and the reason for this outsourcing is to decrease total costs along the supply chain.
If you're ordering from a non-stainable furniture company, you might want to check if they follow the International Bill of Human Rights for equal work and equal pay. Otherwise, you could be purchasing your furniture from a company that allows for their employees to work more than eight hours a day for barely livable wages.
Consider the Environment
Sustainable furniture is fundamentally about caring for the planet and its people.
It is so easy to fall into a pattern of “I want it now.” But taking a step back and realizing that immediacy does not equate to good customer service allows you to see that any furniture that arrives on your doorstep from overseas in less than a week is a problem. Furniture made of materials that are killing marine life and depleting rainforests are pieces to avoid.
When considering new furniture for your living room space or bedroom, consider biodegradable, non-toxic materials and materials that can stand the test of time. Even though these products may be priced higher, they are priced this way because the labor of care is put into them. Here’s a rule of thumb when it comes to furniture: if it's too good to be true, it's probably not good for the environment.
When shopping for green pieces, consider asking questions like, “where did this piece of furniture come from? Who made it? How was it made? What materials is this furniture made out of? Is this furniture sealed with any toxic chemicals? And so on.
Materials To Look for and To Avoid When Shopping Green
Here is a list of materials to consider when shopping sustainably for furniture:
- Solid Wood: If local and solid, it’s sturdy and lasts generations
- Rattan: Available around the world, sturdy, grows quickly, eco-friendly
- Repurposed Steel: Long-lasting, simple to recycle again, and reduce waste
- MDF Composite Wood: Made from recycled wood fibers
Avoid these materials at all costs:
- Plastic: Takes years for plastic to decompose, toxic to the environment
- VOC Seals: Toxic furniture sealing for your health and your home
- Fiberboard: Engineered, not solid wood
Shop With the Future in Mind
You don't have to settle for non-sustainable when shopping for new furniture. Now is the time to put the environment first and invest in furniture that will help the future of our planet and keep your household safe. Sustainably made furniture is well designed, durable, and better for the environment. What more could you ask for?
The Fast Furniture Problem | Architectural Digest
Practice Sustainability With Your Furniture | The Spruce