There are several reasons to choose furniture with a sustainable design. Sustainable furniture is better for the environment, your health and, in the long run, your wallet.
1. Environmental Benefits
There are two main environmental benefits to using sustainable furniture—less furniture in landfills and more sustainable forests. Landfills are more than unattractive. They can emit toxic gases and, if there is a design flaw, will pollute the local water supply. Some landfills use combustion to destroy the extra junk. Combustion creates carbon dioxide and could contribute to global warming.
Trees are the earth's natural filters, they change carbon dioxide into oxygen. These trees, however, are often used to create furniture. When trees from old growth forests are cut down, our filter system becomes weak. Makers of sustainable furniture attempt to balance this trend.
Designers for larger companies have access to recycled metal and plastic. They often use these materials to create their products. Individual designers, while they may not have the access to large quantities of recycled plastic, can use other materials, such as old lumber and antique furniture.
Sustainable furniture also helps sustain the forests. Any wood used in this furniture is from fast growing wood and sustainable forests. Old growth is not used. If the designer does not use fast growing wood, then he should be using old, recycled wood. This prevents the further degradation of the forests and keeps the wood out of the landfills.
Most unsustainable furniture is made with toxic chemicals. Composite wood, for example, is made with formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a toxic carcinogen that can cause cancer, asthma, and allergies in children. Other toxins are used as fire retardants. These toxins have been linked to cancer and birth defects, among other things.
Sustainable furniture designers use safer retardants in an effort to eliminate these problems. Sustainable furniture, made without harsh chemicals that end up back in the environment, helps keep the air and water clean, preventing future problems caused by pollution.
3. Pocket Book
While sustainable furniture often has a higher purchase price than other furniture, it is cheaper in the long run. Sustainable furniture is made to last. This will prevent you from running to buy new furniture every few years. It will also save you the expense of taking your old furniture to the dump.
If you choose to create your own furniture, you can find cheap, used goods. Most of the expense will be your time. If you enjoy doing this kind of work, your time is well spent.
Sustainable furniture also helps your pocket book by preventing illness. Illnesses caused by toxins in furniture can cost a family hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars each year in medical bills. Even if the worst illness in your family is allergies, allergy medicine can be quite expensive, and unwanted.
There are many reasons to use sustainable furniture. Sustainable furniture helps green the planet and an individual's life. It helps prevent illness in families; saving them time, money, and grief. There is no good reason not to go green, at least when it comes to furniture.