It is possible for any type of furniture, whether it is school lockers, cafeteria tables or any other variation of the furniture we all use every day, to be eco-friendly. Here are some useful tips on how to join in the growing move towards reducing waste, saving resources, and thereby protecting our environment.
Tip One: Consider purchasing furniture made of recycled materials, such as plastic or metal, rather than wood. There is a move among environmentalists to switch to metal and plastic furniture for several reasons. Recycled materials need less processing, and use less resources. Check if the furniture you are thinking about buying can be repaired easily to help it last longer. Also, when the item does come to the end of its useful life, can it be dis-assembled easily for another bout of recycling?
Tip Two: Rattan is the “New Wood.” Wicker furniture comes from a type of palm tree that looks more like a vine than a tree, called ‘rattan.’ It is easier to harvest rattan than wood, and easier to transport. The tools needed to harvest it are also simpler. Rattan also grows more quickly than almost all other tropical wood. Rattan is lightweight, extremely durable, stands up to all kinds of weather, and it’s quite flexible. Therefore, consider rattan furniture as an alternative to wood.
Tip Three: Bamboo is another material which can be a good alternative to wood. A type of a grass, bamboo can come in many colors and sizes. It is strong and grows fast, and is a generally versatile material. It is basically the ‘poster plant’ for green construction materials, bring used in all sorts of creations, from floors to clothing, and even in building construction. One thing to be careful about when purchasing bamboo furniture: most bamboo is grown in China where pesticide use is common. Before you purchase, ask your retailer about this issue.
One last tip: Buying traditional strong wooden furniture that is made to last many years, perhaps several lifetimes, can also be environmentally friendly if it only disrupts the environment once and then is handed down for generations.
Whatever you choose, enjoy your furniture!