If you, like many people, are interested in helping out our environment, eco-friendly furniture may be an easy way to help save the earth. Of course furniture is a basic home necessity, but it is also often an expression of your personality and sense of style. While many people are downright obsessive about their furniture, others just want it to be functional. Many of the newest eco-friendly furniture materials are made from recycled wood and non-toxic materials, while still remaining high on the fashion list. Consider that much of the environmentally friendly baby furniture is now made from used cardboard egg cartons which are recycled into paper pulp then made into small desks and stools. Industrial scrap can be transformed into items of furniture which are good for the environment as well as aesthetically pleasing. You might be surprised to find that many eco-friendly couches, chairs and cushions are a combination of steel mesh and fiber sacks previously used for transporting grains and stones. It has been noted that some of these recycled fiber pillows closely resemble homemade marshmallows! Some of the furniture products even come with low watt light fixtures which can add incredibly unique touches to your furniture.
Could Your Family's Health Could Be at Risk?
With traditional furniture, you should be aware that many are sprayed with harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde and lacquers containing high levels of solvents which release volatile organic compounds (VOC's). These compounds can not only irritate skin, eyes, lungs and cause headaches, but in more extreme cases could cause liver or kidney damage. While this type of "poisoning" from furniture is not especially common, it is worth your time to thoroughly check out the furniture in your home to ensure it is not releasing such harmful chemicals in your home.
Bamboo, Cane and Wicker
Some of the most eco-friendly furniture items are made from cane, wicker and bamboo, which are grown in huge quantities in many parts of Asia. Because furniture made from these materials is easy to destroy, they will not end up in our already overcrowded landfills, and since they are mostly handmade, there is no machinery involved in producing the furniture. You can find furniture made from these materials in many different styles and colors to fit your decorating needs.
How Do I Find Eco-Friendly Furniture?
First of all, don't automatically decide to throw away all your present furniture in order to buy eco-friendly furniture-you would only be causing more pollution in the landfills. Think about donating your old furniture or selling it to someone who needs furniture. If you are considering purchasing wood furniture, ensure it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council which renders it correct on all the environmental, economical and social counts. Buying furniture from a local seller can save on transportation costs and the pollution which accompanies it. Some furniture can emit toxic chemicals into your home, so check to make sure the substances they are made from are water-based and have the lowest level of Volatile Organic Compounds available. Eco-friendly fabrics will contain natural colors and dyes, while traditionally treated cottons can be treated with extremely high amounts of pesticides and VOC's in order to reach the desired color. Always go for organic when you have a choice.
Green furniture is not only better for the environment, it is better for your health. While it is true that many types of eco-friendly furniture are more expensive than traditional furniture, it could certainly be worth the extra cost for the peace of mind that comes from keeping your family healthy and helping the environment.