Sustainable furniture might also be described as eco-friendly, better for the planet, or environmentally safe. In addition to being good for the planet, a sustainable furniture is good for people and economic development. There are certain characteristics that make furniture sustainable, including the materials used to make it and the manufacturing process itself. For example, a piece of sustainable furniture might be made using renewable energy and composed of either renewable or recycled materials. Moreover, how the furniture is transported from its place of manufacture to its retailer is a consideration. And the function and longevity of the furniture are a factor.
Sustainable furniture is made from materials that have certain eco-friendly characteristics. These materials often are recycled or repurposed. Sustainable furniture can also be made from materials that are easily renewable. For example, bamboo grows quickly and easily, so it’s a good choice for a renewable resource. Furthermore, sustainable furniture commonly avoids the use of hazardous chemicals and instead consists of products that don’t off-gas or emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds), such as nontoxic paints and stains.
Using sustainable materials is only part of producing sustainable furniture. Responsible manufacturing practices matter just as much and have a great impact on our planet. Such manufacturing practices have to be safe for the environment, which means manufacturers must limit carbon emissions and other pollution. Sustainable manufacturers also often practice fair trade and don’t harm communities or environments to gather materials for their products.
Because transportation of finished products and even raw materials for manufacturing uses energy, eco-friendly transportation methods are also part of producing sustainable furniture. Aim to buy locally produced furniture created with locally sourced materials whenever possible to minimize its carbon footprint. For imported furniture, look for companies that transport their goods efficiently, including how they package their products. For instance, furniture that can be shipped in pieces flat, stacked and tightly packed together often is more eco-friendly than shipping bulky items with lots of packaging.
Another key factor in sustainable furniture purchasing is the furniture’s function. Make sure the item will meet your needs, and it’s something that you will be happy with for a long time. If possible, look for something that’s multifunctional, such as chairs that can be used in garden and inside your home. Also, check the furniture quality. It should be a durable piece that can stand up to your lifestyle without needing to be replaced anytime soon. This will help to limit the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills.
Not all sustainable furniture will have it, but the ones developed with circular design taking complete lifecycle assessment into account should be considered. The certification covers factors such as eco-friendly materials, renewable energy use, water use, and impact on people and communities.
At eha, we develop sustainable furniture taking all of the above mentioned factors into account. We also share the information transparently with our digital solution, that includes product history, resource stewardship and carbon footprint. This takes the guesswork out of you making a sustainable choice for your furniture.