You Can Go Green When Choosing Modern Furniture
Going green and shopping for modern furniture aren't mutually exclusive. The sustainability movement has expanded to include contemporary home furnishings and furniture in the last few years.
When buying, be aware of these eco-friendly labels and certifications.
Bamboo is actually a grass, not wood, as many believe. It's a very versatile material that is widely available in flooring and furniture. Because it grows so easily, most bamboo is grown with no pesticides. However, that's not always the case. If you want to be sure, ask the furniture retailer about the piece you're interested in.
Individual manufacturers also have websites with more information on where and how their bamboo is sourced.
FSC certified wood.
The non-profit organization, the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, certifies furniture made from sustainable wood. Pieces are sourced mainly from reclaimed wood and sustainable harvested tree farms and forests. Buying this furniture helps reduce clear-cutting and the subsequent damage to the eco-system it causes.
Consumers can perform a search to see if a furniture manufacturer is certified at the FSC website.
Reclaimed wood is wood from old houses, furniture and factory odds and ends, among other sources. Like certified wood, this material also helps to save trees and is featured in a wide variety of modern furniture pieces.
The Rainforest Alliance issues a Rediscovered Wood Certification label to furniture manufacturers who use reclaimed wood. You can look for a little green frog label while at the furniture store, or search their certified products database under "furniture."
Many modern furniture pieces are being made from recycled plastic and metal. However, "recycled" can sometimes have a vague definition.
The best way to see if furniture was truly made from recycled, previously used materials is to look for the Cradle to Cradle certification label. They assess products using standards for material safety and re-utilization as well as safe, sustainable assembly. Their website offers a registry of certified furniture companies to browse through.
Low toxicity furniture.
No matter what the source material, all furniture can release chemicals just sitting in your home. Furniture made or coated with synthetic materials is known to emit toxins, especially when they're new. Not only is this bad for the environment, it can be a health issue, especially if there are children or pets in your home.
If you want to be certain that the modern furniture piece you have an eye on is low toxicity, look for the Greenguard certification label. This organization certifies furniture that meets their standard for low chemical emissions. More information about Greenguard and their certification process can be found on their consumer page.
Going green when buying modern furniture lets you help the environment, keep a healthy home and be stylish, all at the same time.