As a recent mover – and from a studio apartment to a two bedroom – I know it can a painful process filling in those empty spaces without worrying you just chopped down a whole rainforest. But how does one get really eco friendly furniture?
Even if you’ve been nesting in your place for years and you just want to add a new piece to the living room, making sure your furniture was built or harvested in an eco-friendly way can make a huge difference for your sustainable lifestyle (especially for that feng shui!).
I could sit here and list out some sustainable furniture websites, but I also know it’s important to make a home that reflects your own style – not mine.
So instead, I want to give you the tools you need to make the right purchases for you.
If you are in college, see ways to green your dorm room.
So, how do I know that it is eco-friendly furniture?
Before you buy any wood piece, the best way to make certain you’re buying sustainable furniture is to check that a product was made under the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) standards for environmentally friendly products. With 10 key principles for certification – including properly maintaining high conservation forests and even community relations and worker’s rights – the FSC leaves no stone unturned.
For example, the FSC typically promotes products like cork or bamboo since they are fast growing and consequentially make a much smaller environmental impact.
Fun fact: bamboo is actually a grass – not a wood and the fastest growing plant on the planet and can grow a meter a day in tropical locations.
While the FSC’s biggest furniture no nos are typically endangered species like teak or redwood. These woods – though beautiful – come from slow-growing wood forests that are not renewable and therefore, not a sustainable lifestyle choice.
Where do I find eco-friendly furniture?
For the truly eco-conscious (and more upscale shopper), I would consider checking out designers with a focus on reclaimed wood. Anything from recycled building beams, old furniture from yard sales, to even driftwood from local beaches, eco-conscious woodworkers have gotten really creative when it comes to upcylcing for your next statement piece.
Consider stunning pieces from Brent Comber that use scrap Douglas Fir wood. Or ProduckWerft, a German-based company that uses recycled shipping pallets to make truly unique home furnishings.
One roadblock. Sometimes it feels like every company is pushing an “eco-friendly” or “organic” product without real credentials to back it up. And that’s because a lot of “eco” product advertising is just big, fat lie. That’s why I say don’t always believe the sticker.
Check out Greenerchoices.org where you can look up any product you’re interested in (or the label it totes) to see whether it’s really up to standards or just a bunch of smoke and mirrors. This is especially great if you’re looking for non-wood products like recycled metal or plastic furniture. When they are done right, recycled metal and plastic products can be just as sustainable as FSC standard woods.