If you are using reusable grocery bags, carrying around your BPA-free water bottle and driving an electric vehicle, you are taking conscious steps toward an eco-friendly lifestyle. But if you're ready to take your environmentally savvy choices one step further, it might be time to invest in green materials for your home. From your patio and living room to your bedrooms and office, there are plenty of ways to transform your home into a more eco-friendly abode. Not sure where to start? Follow this guide to find the furniture and decor that's both mom and Mother Earth approved.
Reclaimed and Recycled Material
If you are looking for reclaimed wood furniture, keep an eye out for the Rainforest Alliance's "Rediscovered Wood Certification," which ensures the wood furniture you are purchasing is made from reclaimed materials. Why? Not only do they have a shorter supply chain, they are an efficient resource that takes advantage of old furniture, houses or other pre-used materials that are ready to be recreated into your next dining room table or outdoor patio furniture. If you prefer metal or plastic, look for furniture made of recycled material, which requires fewer resources, less processing and promotes less waste ending up in the landfill.
In case you were wondering, reusing these materials does not mean their quality will deteriorate over time. In fact, thanks to modern technology, the quality of recycled material increases with the length of time it stays in the recycle loop.
Certified Sustainable Wood
The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) promotes environmentally sound, socially beneficial and economically prosperous management of the world's forests. FSC certified wood ensures that the product comes from responsibly managed forests that do not lead to deforestation, and also ensures that the wood provides environmental, social and economic benefits to the community while maintaining good working conditions for employees. For those interested in every step of the manufacturing process, the FSC also provides documented chain of control of the the wood so you know exactly how your wooden desk came to fruition. Our planet needs more trees to absorb the carbon dioxide we emit and produce the oxygen we need to breathe. Buying wood furniture might seem counterproductive, however, if you're purchasing sustainable materials that are harvested from tree farms that keep the environment in mind, you'll still be making an eco-friendly choice that does not lead to deforestation.
When considering the health of the environment, it is important to also evaluate the impact furniture might have on the health of your family. Factors to consider include wood finish, adhesives, upholstery fabric, whether fire retardants were used and coating for waterproofing and soiling prevention. This might all seem overwhelming with so many factors to keep in mind, however, if you're purchasing from a company that has already adapted a green mindset, it is very likely they are also considering the health of their consumer. For the official seal, look for Greenguard-certified furniture that ensures low toxicity that is natural, untreated or has low chemical emissions, meaning it is safer for your family as well as the environment.