There is much controversy over the definition of green, so consider these things if you are buying furniture with an “eco-conscience”:
1. Frames: The newest green development is discontinuing the use of solid hardwood and using cross-laminated veneers. Some believe the lamination process adds even more strength to the piece. An alternative is using wood from sustainably harvested forests, certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) which certifies forests with the affiliated Rainforest Alliance.
2. Manufacturer Location: Buy from a manufacturer that limits the travel time required to make, sell and deliver you a piece of furniture. The large furniture manufacturers are generally located in North Carolina, Michigan, and Los Angeles.
3. Glues and Wood Stains: Water-based wood stains and glue are as protective and supportive to wood as chemical based replacements for the most part. In place of petroleum-derived solvents, they use water, making then preferable in terms of health and environmental impacts.
4. Seat Cushion Foam: The latest eco trend is replacement of traditional latex foam core with cushions that combine a soy-based foam core with a mixed down or feather fill around the center cushion, and covered in a down-proof cotton cover.
5. Eco-green fabrics: Upholstery fabrics manufacturers are offering all types of new options.
Modal is made with reconstituted cellulose from beech trees.
- Modal is a luxuriously soft and extravagant eco-friendly fabric. 100% biodegradable, this bio-based fabric is 50% more water-absorbent than cotton, but it dyes just as well, holds color fast, and is resistant to fading.
- Quickly renewable, bamboo grows easily without the use of pesticides and fertilizers, and can even be used to stabilize erosion and deforestation. Bamboo pulp is bleached without chlorine and is easy to dye, thus lessening the environmental impacts of cloth production.
- Hemp is eco-friendly, sustainable and much easier to grow (without the use of pesticides) than cotton. Cotton fields account for 50% of the world’s pesticide use; hemp fields don’t even register on the scale. Hemp has many uses, is easily renewable and highly versatile.
- Organic cotton is grown in soil that is certified free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for at least three years.
- Buyer beware...fabrics should be "organic fabrics" not simply fabric from organic fibers. More on sustainably "Green" textile choices in a subsequent newsletter.........
So, what have we learned in Part I, II and III about How to Buy a Sofa?
Quality isn’t a luxury…it’s a necessity. And, good quality means long-lasting construction, long-term value and sustainability.
According to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), over 8.7 million tons of furniture and home furnishings are dumped into municipal landfills annually. Junk furniture ends up in landfill.
Quality furniture becomes an antique that is passed on and appreciated for generations…