Sustainable Furniture Basics: Buying New and Recycling Old
Conventional methods of manufacturing and shipping furniture consumes natural resources. A large percentage of the total furniture purchased in the US is manufactured overseas and, therefore, must be shipped. The wood used is often sourced from tropical rainforests; this causes deforestation, which in turn, affects biodiversity.
Conventional furniture also off-gasses, which can lead to many illnesses and allergies–infants and young children are particularly vulnerable. Off-gassing is the process of emitting chemicals called volatile orgaic compounds (VOCs) into the air. This comes from the manufacturing process, which typically involves the use of finishes, paints, adhesives and other chemicals, like formaldehyde, that can contribute to indoor air pollution. For more information on chemicals commonly found in the home and on furniture, click here.
As a solution, buy sustainable furniture; i.e., furniture made in New York (or at least in the United States) that does not contain chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This dramatically reduces the natural resources consumed and prevents the contribution to the indoor air pollution within your home.