The Bad News
The home furnishings industry has a surprisingly big impact on the environment. Deforestation, manufacturing, and shipping all contribute to global warming. You may not know, however, that the toxic pollutants that affect the greater environment also affect the indoor air quality of your home and the health and wellness of your family. There are loads of toxins in your home; they are in the finishes on your walls and floors, in the adhesives in your cabinets and furniture, in your rugs, in your fabrics, in your cushions, pillows and mattresses. Yikes! What to do?
Ask These 4 Questions
Where did it come from?
Was it sustainably and ethically sourced? Manufactured in a facility that is energy-efficient and recycles waste and water? Shipped locally or shipped across the world?
What is it made of?
Is the material natural or recycled? Does it contain plastics, glues, pesticides, herbicides, fire-retardants, anti-microbials, or stain-resistant chemicals that will off-gas harmful fumes? Is it cruelty-free?
How long will it last?
Sustainable design requires that products be long-lasting, ideally inheritable. So, what is the quality of the materials, construction, and finish?
Where will it end up?
Once the product has reached the end of its useful life, will it degrade naturally or can it be recycled? Or will it end up as landfill?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!
We all know our “3 Rs”, right? There are lots of ways to incorporate these practices. Antique and vintage furnishings are the ultimate in sustainability. New furnishings made with reclaimed materials are all the richer for the stories embedded in those materials. Recycled and reclaimed materials of all kinds can be used in a variety of ways, in furniture, kitchen counters, carpets, textiles, and cushion fill. And of course, when we’re done with our things, we can donate them for reuse or carefully recycle them to the extent possible.
The Good News
Everything we do, regardless of how small, matters!
Now is actually a very exciting time, as people in all kinds of industries have rallied to drive innovation to combat climate change. Manufacturers and designers in the furnishings business are working together to drive innovation toward more eco-friendly practices and materials. By making informed choices, you can have a fully sustainable and truly gorgeous home!