How environmentally friendly is your own home? Sustainable furniture and other important choices - We show you what eco-design is all about
Copyright by Kovac Family: designer lamp 25lamp Birch by Kovac Family made in Sweden from sustainable wood
Eco design stands for a conscious furnishing style. Above all, this also includes sustainable furniture. Fortunately, we don't have to compromise on quality, style, or design, as long as we pay attention to a few important points before buying.
Eco Design - sustainable furniture for the home. This is what matters:
When buying, it is important to pay attention to whether a piece of furniture consists out of recyclable materials or is intended for disassembly. Many manufacturers claim that their products contain 95 to 100 percent recyclable materials. However, not infrequently, these pieces of furniture are made of different materials that are irreversibly glued or bonded together.
Even if the joined materials are recyclable on their own, actual recycling could be impossible. For example, a table may have a non-recyclable surface, or a chair may have a non-recyclable foam that adheres to the seat base. Sustainable furniture should therefore be completely disassembled. The products from Kovac family, a Swedish furniture manufacturer, for example, have as little impact on the environment as possible and are ethically produced as well as from sustainable and recycled materials.
Image source & copyright by Kovac Family (sustainable designer chair made of recycled wood)
Longevity is an important aspect in the context of sustainable furniture. Here, the principle of quality instead of quantity is of particular importance. If something is built for eternity or can easily be repaired, it reduces the likelihood that it will be thrown away. The environmental impact of the production of two objects compared to an object should not be forgotten when buying furniture. It is therefore worthwhile to consider whether the manufacturer guarantees a long service life, has spare parts or offers refurbishment programs before purchasing.
Free from harmful substances
This is mainly about volatile organic compounds (VOC). VOCs are chemicals that evaporate at room temperature. Various materials (e.g. wood panels) or surface treatments (e.g. liquid coatings), which are regularly used in the furniture industry, contain VOCs that release dangerous gases in the interior climate. The smell of "new furniture" when removing the packaging is often actually the smell of VOCs evaporating in the air.
If they accumulate in poorly ventilated areas, they can even be harmful. However, there is an easy way to avoid VOCs - the search for GREENGUARD certified products. This is an assurance that products comply with a strict emission limit for chemicals and substantiate the sustainability claims with empirical scientific data from a third party organization. The VOC content of wall colors is also usually listed on its packaging.
Image Source & Copyright by Little Greene (Sustainable colors)
Packaging is an important aspect. Many products are delivered in excessive packaging - some can be recycled, but many, including polystyrene and certain plastics, can not. It is better to choose furniture which is not overly packaged or packaged in materials such as cardboard or other recyclable plastic. However, this is a particularly difficult issue as consumers what their furniture to be undamaged when it is delivered.
Free of plastic
Plastic or plastic objects can easily be replaced by products that produce significantly less waste and protect our resources. This also applies to decorations. When choosing them, you should focus on times made of glass, metal, food or porcelain.
For wood products, the FSC certification is a useful and reliable seal of approval. It ensures that the processed wood originates from responsible as well as sustainable forestry. You can also check out our wood guide for more information on the differences between and advantages of certain types of wood.
Eco Design with the Environmental Product Declaration (EDP)
A quick and easy way to determine the environmental impact of a piece of furniture is to test the EPD (Environmental Product Declaration). An EPD is an independently verified and registered document that provides transparent and comparable information about the environmental impact of a product during its life cycle. It calculates the full impact on the environment, from the extraction of raw materials to the phasing out of the factory. An EPD does not necessarily mean that a product is environmentally friendly but gives a clear indication of the overall effect of the product.
Some countries also have their own standards to determine how environmentally friendly products are. In Germany, for example, there is the Blue Angel, an eco-label for particularly environmentally friendly, sustainable products and services. It is important to research as well as question the sustainability of furniture pieces before buying them. If each and everyone of us makes conscious decisions in our own homes, we are already taking a big step towards a sustainable way of life and protected environment.
Image source & copyright by hülsta Möbel (certified with Blue Angel)