Your sustainability check list when shopping consciously for your home
22 Apr 2021
With the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, as well as lockdowns that were (and still are in some countries) in place, our world came to a standstill. For a moment we witnessed reduced human activity and thereby lower carbon emissions, and while this allowed our earth to heal for a moment, it also served as a reminder that our actions have a direct impact on our environment. Indeed, there is still so much more that we can do to protect our precious planet.
This year’s Earth Day is focused on restoring our earth, and we wholeheartedly agree with its message. We can all take small steps towards green living, be it in our day-to-day activities or when buying new pieces for our closet or home. This Earth Day, we’re going over some of the things to consider when shopping consciously for sustainable furniture – a shopping check list, if you will – so that you can make informed decisions and choose accordingly, while having a peace of mind that your item was made sustainably and responsibly.
Reduce, reuse, recycle!
One of the key elements of green living is to make use of what you already have. Before you pop out to the shops in search of new furniture, perhaps consider whether your piece can be mended, revamped or repurposed into something else that you can use around your home. For pieces that you no longer have use for, donate them to local charities and organisations so that they may be reused!
When shopping for sustainable furniture, consider what materials it is made from and who made them. Look for pieces that are made from natural, renewable materials, like wood, as they have less of an impact on the environment and can be replenished (when harvested responsibly). Reclaimed pieces make use of old wood and give it a new lease of life in the form of naturally stylish furniture, making them an excellent sustainable option for the home. Oftentimes, you’ll find that reclaimed wood furniture retains its weathered surfaces and natural markings, which lend a beautifully rustic look while telling the story of its unique past. Check out Vogue Hong Kong’s recent article to discover the many solid eco-wood furniture options that are available at TREE!
Not all wooden furniture has finishing, but should you want to apply an additional protective layer, consider a product devoid of harsh chemicals. We love working with OSMO, whose products are made with environmentally friendly ingredients such as harvested natural oils and waxes.
Independent certifications are another way of ensuring that a brand is meeting its commitment to offering its customers sustainable furniture. The Forest Stewardship Council (also known as FSC™) is a globally recognised, well-trusted certification system that ensures vigorous sustainability standards are met and is a good indication that a product has been evaluated and determined as sustainable. The next time you’re shopping at TREE, be sure to look out for our FSC™ tags or logos – this means that each piece has been made from wood from responsibly managed forests or reclaimed from FSC™-certified sources!
While conscious shopping certainly encourages us to buy less, it also advocates buying better should we need to purchase something new. Beautifully crafted, quality pieces are less likely to fall apart, thereby reducing their chance of being sent to landfill as well as the need for replacement. We recommend investing in furniture that is made from solid wood as opposed to engineered wood, as it has natural properties that make it resilient to environmental changes. For example, teak has an ability to retain natural oils that act as a protectant against water, dry rotting and infestation. Because its entire body is solid (as opposed to veneer wood where only the top layer is made from hardwood), solid wood furniture is strong and sturdy, and can be easily restored should it start to show signs of wear and tear.
While today’s bLOG post focuses on what to look out for when buying sustainable furniture, our check list can certainly be used when shopping consciously for other items. Reduce the use of single-use plastics; bring your own reusable coffee mugs or shopping bags; and recycle clothing by repurposing them into cleaning rags or donating them to charities like Redress. Consider looking into other certifications such as Fair Trade for coffee, tea, and other produce (check out Fair Trade Winds’ thorough guide on labels here). Here’s to pursuing green living and protecting our planet!