The furniture industry is not one commonly known for its eco-friendly habits. Most furniture is made from a mixture of woods, plastic, and synthetic materials. Many furniture pieces are made in huge factories that produce huge amounts of emissions. The furniture itself also carries a variety of toxic ingredients, from anything to plastic particles to formaldrahyde and other toxic ingredients.
So what can the furniture industry do to reduce the amount of impact it has on the world? Luckily, there are clear steps that furniture manufacturers can take to stay green, all while maintaining style and low prices.
Furniture making efforts
In the past few years, many councils have been set up to help make the furniture manufacturing process greener for the earth and the people who live in it. Two councils, the Sustainable Furnishing Council and the Forest Stewardship Council worth coincide one another to protect both sides of furniture manufacturing. The Sustainable Furnishing Council works to ensure the process of making furniture is sustainable and eco-friendly. The Forest Stewardship Council works to ensure that the supplies and materials used to create furniture impact the earth as little as possible and replace the resources taken from the earth.
The achievements of greening the furniture industry
So far, many furniture makers have accomplished many different greening processes that have improved the eco-friendly aspects of their furniture. California and a variety of other states have imposed strict emissions laws for various additives in furniture, like PCV emissions, formaldehyde, and other toxic chemicals. Paints and stains must contain a reduced amount of VOCs and other chemicals. Other manufacturers are using more reclaimed materials in their products, including recycled fabrics and reclaimed materials from other furniture pieces.
Trends in eco-friendly furniture design
There are a variety of trends in eco-friendly furniture design right now. Each trend mixes the excitement of something new with environmentally-friendly design practices. Some of the trendiest eco-friendly furniture trends include:
Minimalism: This is especially popular in Europe and in other areas where space is limited. The idea is to maximize the usefulness out of even the smallest spaces in the home. Furniture profiles are smaller, and furniture pieces have multiple uses- such as seating that also has enclosed storage.
Non-toxic materials: Many furniture companies are moving away from using chemicals in their products and moving towards all-natural materials for their furniture. This includes using non-polluting paints and stains and using materials that have not been chemically-treated. Manufactures that once used plastic are moving away from the polluting material.
Reclaimed materials: Using reclaimed materials is a great way to reuse existing materials and supplies. Manufacturers reclaim materials from old furniture and old buildings and make it into something new and modern. Some companies even use recycled fabrics.
Natural materials: Natural materials, like wood, ceramic, tile, cork, metal, and rock are all popular with eco-friendly furniture manufacturers. Natural materials not only look modern and trendy, but are also more environmentally responsible
Just like any other manufacturing industry, it is no longer enough to simply create a product without thought to the surrounding environment. Sustainable furniture is an important element of modern furniture design and many manufacturers are working toward the goal of environmentally-conscious design.
Photo by Wicker Paradise