What makes furniture sustainable
Similar to the energy, transport, food, and drink sector, a variety of criteria play a role when it comes to the sustainability of furniture. They emerge primarily from the distinction between sustainable choices and conventional, production coupled with cost and trend-conscious consumption. They display the following characteristics:
- Designed for circularity
- Use renewable & reclaimed raw materials
- Durability for long life
- Free from harmful substances
- Comparable cost
Designing for circularity
Sustainable furniture may be certified Cradle to Cradle (C2C), which in part says that the furniture can be dismantled. Its individual parts can be recycled at a facility or reused in other furniture. Easy furniture disassembly also allows for quick and easy repairs, which extend the life of the piece. Furnishings consisting of recyclable materials, like most plastics or metals, help eco-friendly furniture companies by saving them from purchasing additional resources. This, in a way, qualifies the furniture to be circular in design that enables the resources to be used, reused and recycled, or repurposed.
Use renewable and reclaimed materials
One of the principles of circularity is to prevent waste not just at the end of product use, but at the beginning of the product’s lifecycle. Renewable materials as long as they are sourced sustainably without resulting in deforestation should be considered over fossil resources. Using reclaimed and renewable materials for making furniture helps reduce carbon footprint and conserve resources. Refer to our blog on sustainable materials for furniture for further information.
Durability for long life
Eco-friendly, sustainable furniture should be designed to last. The goal is to conserve, not to contribute to the local landfill, after all. Sustainable furniture should not be a compromise over good quality traditional furniture.
The materials used in making sustainable furniture should enable the furniture to last for its intended use. As an example, if the furniture is to be used outdoors, it should withstand heat and rain. Sustainable furniture is designed to be modular and fixable where possible. When your chair leg breaks, ideally it should be hassle-free to fix the same.
Well-made furniture is a long-term investment that pays off because it doesn’t have to be replaced again and again. If it did, it wouldn’t be sustainable or eco-friendly.
Reduction of potentially harmful chemicals
Large companies have conducted research to detect chemicals that can be harmful to the environment and people. Chemicals that damage the environment in small or large ways have been identified.
Organizations such as the Center for Interactive Research on Sustainability (CIRS) located on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, offer proposals to help the environment regenerate resources and create increasingly sustainable products.
For sustainable furniture to have widespread adoption in the mainstream, the costs are required to be comparable to the traditional choices. Especially, in developing & emerging countries such as India, the cost of furniture plays a significant role.
The duty to raise awareness and generate a change for the environment is a responsibility that belongs to everyone. The implementation of sustainable furniture is one of the many actions that everyone can carry out. Let’s be conscious of the environment!