We all hold a responsibility to our environment and our surroundings. Here are some ideas on how to mindfully choose furnishings and appliances that are environmentally friendly.
Read labels and certifications
Familiarise yourself with product labels and certifications and what they mean. We often overlook this vital information. For example, the Greenguard certification ensures low toxicity in furniture. Cradle2Cradle is a certification awarded to products that are more sustainable for a circular economy.
Upcycle gently used furniture
For a fraction of the price, you can often find second-hand furniture online that can be repurposed to furnish your home. Be selective and choose only what you really need. Make sure to measure beforehand and, if possible, arrange to pick up or deliver together with other pieces. In addition, a great advantage of older, vintage furniture is they are more likely to have finished off gassing—resulting in a lower amount of toxins or volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Vintage furniture has excellent resale value and by keeping it actively in market, you significantly reduce the chances of it ending up in a landfill.
Choose eco-friendly paint
When repainting a space, opt for low or zero VOC paint; this will significantly reduce off gassing, which is harmful for you and the environment. The lighter the colour, the better, as darker hues have tints that involve more additives.
Focus on local, natural, recycled and eco-friendly products
Opt for locally made products to decrease the environmental cost associated with shipping. Also focus on purchasing pieces fabricated out of natural and/or reclaimed materials. Often dissasemblable furniture means that they are truly durable and can be recycled even if it is by individual parts. This will often extend the lifetime of a product knowing that it will withstand the test of time.
Check out recycled wallpaper options; there are some neat environmentally friendly alternatives produced from recycled glass bottles, cardboard, sugarcane bagasse and even newspapers. This will certainly add an edge to your décor and encourage recycling among friends and family.
If you are looking for new appliances, focus on certifiable energy-efficiency—from coffee makers and washer/dryer combos to refrigerators, there are several options out there that will not necessarily break the bank. Do your research and find out what eco-friendly options will work for you.
Pass it on
Whether you are moving or moving on, offer your furnishings a new lease of life. Advertise them on pertinent forums for sale or for grabs, pay it forward and keep sharing the benefits of being more eco-conscientious.