Updated: May 23, 2019
For budget-conscious consumers or frequent movers, investing in furniture that stands the test of time doesn't sound feasible. In most cases, the priority is to opt for furniture that serves our purpose and is easy on the pocket. But as many of us have found out the hard way, these particleboard products aren’t exactly built to last.
The primary issue with opting to buy these products is: because they are cheap, they are also dispensable. Having invested little to nothing on them, its easy for us to throw it away and buy a replacement. We don't have that sentimental value or attachment to a set of inexpensive bedside tables, as compared to heirloom ones made from solid wood.
Here's the catch: these cheap options may offer a temporary solution, but investing in replacements every few years is actually more expensive for you in the long run! We often tend to overlook how our choice of household furniture makes an impact on the environment, & inadvertently contribute to environmental pollution as these waste products often contain toxic substances. So, maybe it's worth taking a little time to understand what it means to make sustainable choices?
The future is sustainable. There is a focus on reducing the environmental impact by using reclaimed or non-toxic materials in the process, to give it new life and make sure they remain useful for a lifetime (or two). Here are some ways where you can make more sustainably sound choices when buying furniture.
Items that are produced locally by a domestic artisan/craftsman significantly reduces your carbon footprint caused largely due to transportation. In this way, you are also supporting your local economy, craftsman and artisans that are creating new things out of repurposed wood and other materials.
Choose Solid Wood
Solid wood is much stronger and durable as it is a natural homogeneous material. Good quality hardwoods such as Sheesham and teak, have a natural oil content that can resist water well. These wood slabs have various ways of being organically treated without using toxins. Products made from solid wood are more expensive, but its a sound investment in the long term. On the other hand, particle boards are lighter and weaker than solid wood, made from small particles of wood mixed with glue. These products are cost effective in the short term, but inefficient (and more expensive!) in the long run.
Choose Recycled and Reclaimed Materials
When eco-friendly furniture is made using reclaimed or recycled materials, like wood, glass and iron, it means that there is no adverse impact on the natural ecosystem. Old furniture, homes, offices and other structures often are a source of reclaimed materials. Sustainable furniture materials include a variety of resources, from reclaimed wood to LED lights. The type of material, and how it was obtained, makes all the difference when it comes to making and buying sustainable furniture.
Choose Quality and Durability
Eco-friendly, sustainable furniture is designed to last. The goal is to conserve, not to contribute to the local landfill. Most sustainable products are made with high-quality, durable materials and are designed to be fixable and easy to dismantle. When something breaks, it’s a hassle-free fix because the furniture is easy to take apart and repair. Just like we don't throw away our cars when we get a flat tire - we replace the tire and continue driving. Furniture deserves the same treatment.
This is the hope for the future. It’s a choice that benefits more than the environment. It also benefits those who reclaim, design and manufactures these sustainable items. Start your own journey with sustainable furniture and see how it makes a difference.