Buying furniture is a significant investment, but it doesn't only affect the consumer and designer economically. Furniture plays a massive part in environmental issues, with many large furniture companies mass-producing different items with little consensus behind this action.
As we strive to do better for our environment, you may be putting more consideration into where you're buying from and if eco friendly materials are used to produce your piece of furniture. Luckily, the sustainable furniture industry is becoming more prominent, making it easier for you to find sustainable furniture companies which use recycled materials and ethical processes when making their products.
This article will detail how you can determine if the furniture you're considering purchasing is eco-friendly, from being aware of recycled materials, sustainable materials, and the best ethical furniture brands you can buy from.
Put simply; sustainable furniture is furniture that causes minimal environmental harm when being made. This includes sourcing sustainable materials while also ensuring the harvesting and farming of these materials is done ethically while supporting the community and location of the plantations or farms.
Sustainable furniture often uses recycled or renewable materials, ensuring no new materials are required in their creation. Additionally, these materials won't be coated in toxic chemicals during manufacturing, guaranteeing they will emit no harm to the environment.
Below, we will take you through the top ways that you can ensure the furniture you are purchasing is sustainable;
When buying first-hand furniture, it is critical to check that your furniture has been FSC certified. When you see that your furniture is made from FSC certified wood, you will know that the wood has been treated to support the local community and workers involved in its sourcing. In addition, forest management certification ensures that you purchase a product that meets environmental, social, and economic standards.
We recommend always checking that you buy FSC certified wood, as it is one of the easiest and best ways to support sustainability with minimal effort.
Several furniture companies go above and beyond regarding sustainability, striving to do more than average and not being satisfied with what used to be industry norms. If you really love a piece of furniture, it doesn't hurt to check how the company supports its design and if it is done sustainably.
For example, most sustainable furniture brands will have an extensive section on their website that details their ethos, mission, and how they go about their manufacturing process. At Mojo Boutique, we provide our customers with a thorough rundown of who we are as a brand, detailing how we source our natural materials, make our products, support our workers and ensure our business is doing all it can to be eco friendly.
All companies should make the above information available on their website or at least be open to questions regarding their stance on sustainability. If you only want to purchase from brands that strive to do their best, don't be afraid to delve into their about us section!
Of course, one of the most significant elements of sustainable furniture is the materials used to make it. If the materials aren't from renewable sources or harvested in an eco friendly way, chances are they won't be sustainable. For example, many first-hand wooden furniture items play a huge role in deforestation.
Therefore, it is often better to go down the reclaimed wood route or select solid wood furniture made from natural and recycled materials instead of buying new furniture that requires trees and nature to be harmed during its design and manufacturing process.
There is a misconception about recycled and secondhand furniture that the quality may be lacking, but this isn't true! When it comes to wooden items such as dining tables or dining chairs, the solid wood used often has more character if recycled. One of the most durable types of wood is teak wood, and it can be restored and reclaimed easily due to its appearance getting better with age.
At Mojo Boutique, when working with teak wood, we pursue an extensive upcycling process to ensure any marks, scratches, and nails have been removed. We do this by sanding, polishing, and reworking the wood, so it almost looks brand new. We say almost because teak wood becomes deeper and richer over time, with the veins and knots of the wood becoming more apparent. So, we want this aging to happen to ensure our customers are supplied with a visually exciting product that first-hand alternatives can't match!
As noted by the Sustainable Furnishings Council, one of the essential elements of crafting sustainable furniture is to select materials with lasting power. Therefore, materials like teak wood are excellent as they are durable, can withstand weather conditions, and hold heavy weight. The more durable an item is, the less likely a customer will need to buy another model, which equates to less waste and less mass production.
FCS certifications can help determine if the environment and workers have been supported during the harvesting and farming of your furniture. However, delving into how materials have been sourced will ensure you know if the company you are buying from is genuinely doing all it can to farm and harvest materials ethically.
Important details to keep an eye on could be working with local farmers who understand agriculture and how to preserve it. Mojo Boutique work with farmers that understand the regrowth of lianas and which age they should be cut to ensure they can grow back efficiently. Providing our consumers with this information helps them know we implement eco-friendly practices in all we do, whether making wicker baskets or solid wood bed frames.
While varnishing and polishing can help wooden furniture look sleek, many contain formaldehyde, which includes harsh chemicals that have detrimental effects on the environment and those around the furniture daily breathing in the fumes.
We recommend continuously checking to see if your furniture has been varnished and, if so, with what. Natural alternatives such as coconut oil can provide a similar coated and durable effect, minus the harmful downside.
Most eco-friendly furniture companies use reclaimed wood that shouldn't include these types of coatings, so it is best to opt for a company such as Mojo Boutique that is 100% chemical free to be on the safe side.
Once you have determined if the furniture you buy is eco friendly, you can go the extra mile to see how your product will be shipped and packaged. Although your main priority will be regarding how your furniture was made, this is still a good step in ensuring your entire purchase has been sustainable.
At Mojo Boutique, our packaging is plastic-free to guarantee there is no waste with any order we send. Additionally, our shipping methods include CO2 offset solutions, which help us to accurately track how renewable our transportation is.
A bonus in placing an order with Mojo Boutique is that we plant a tree in Indonesia whenever an order is placed. This ensures we support the environment that helps us create extraordinary bespoke designs.