In an eco-conscious world of saving and recycling, every purchase now must pass the ‘Am I harming the environment?’ litmus test. This means hunting for products that use sustainable materials, are recyclable, and don’t have to travel thousands of miles, among many other things.
Unfortunately, fast furniture (that which isn’t made sustainably) is one of the main reasons our landfills are fit to bursting. As it stands, around a third of Brits throw away a shocking 22 million pieces of good furniture unnecessarily every year, so it is vital us Brits start shopping for sustainable sofas, chairs, and tables where possible.
So, what does eco furniture look like? Well, there are many ways an environmentally-friendly sofa or armchair can show its eco-credentials. See, below, for some questions you need to cover off before adding that new piece of furniture to your basket.
When we talk about sustainable materials for eco-friendly furniture, we aren’t just referring to bamboo and hemp – sustainability now refers to how materials are sourced.
For example, timber felled from unprotected forests is bad for Mother Earth because those trees aren’t being re-planted as quickly as they’re being harvested. However, timber from a self-sufficient forest or recycled from an old piece of furniture can be deemed sustainable. Even plastic, which gets a lot of bad press, can be used as an eco-friendly furniture material as long as it’s been recycled with minimum impact on the environment.
There are also some eco-friendly furniture materials that can be identified as sustainable due to how they function. Our Aquaclean fabric, for instance, wipes away spills and stains with minimal elbow grease or excess water. This means the fabric does not need machine washing as often (if at all), minimising your sofa’s carbon footprint.
If in doubt about any environmentally-friendly furniture’s sustainability credentials, take a look at its product description online or get in touch directly with the manufacturer.
Whether constructed with or without sustainable materials, all furniture affects the environment the same once it’s thrown in a landfill.
The answer? Buy less but buy better.
You want to purchase eco-friendly furniture that can stand the test of time – and, yes, that might mean paying a little more than you initially expected. If a sofa’s price seems too good to be true, it usually means Mother Earth will be footing the bill in a few years’ time. Let’s put it this way: your new sofa might be a bigger investment now, but just think of all the money you’d save on replacements down the line.
And even when your environmentally-friendly furniture has served you faithfully for decades and is looking a little worse for wear, a trip to the tip is not the answer.
Here at Plumbs, we specialise in rejuvenating old and tired furniture with our reupholstery service. All you need to do is pick a new fabric and we will do the rest; within weeks, your eco-friendly chairs or sofa will look brand new again. Take a look here to find your local Plumbs consultant today.
So, you’ve made your peace with the slightly higher price tag and researched the manufacturing process diligently, all that’s left is to ensure your new environmentally-friendly furniture isn’t sourced from another time zone across the globe.
The simplest way to guarantee this is to buy British-made sofas and chairs. Sure, furniture manufactured in China or India might be slightly cheaper, but the carbon emissions caused by delivery are astronomical. By purchasing eco-friendly furniture from the UK, you minimise your carbon footprint and have the added bonus of supporting local businesses.
As Plumbs are one of those UK companies, a fourth-generation family business based in Preston, we also want to do our part to further minimise the carbon footprint of time spent on the road. That’s why our expert reupholsterers are stationed all over the country, ensuring that no matter where you live in the country, your environmentally-friendly furniture won’t travel far for a spruce up.
Sophie is a great granddaughter of the founders of the business - so fabrics and furniture are almost part of her DNA! Her interests include home interiors and upcycling, and her favourite show to watch after work is The Repair Shop. Some of the topics she covers on the Plumbs blog include sofa reupholstery and furniture protection.
We'll go through our fabric collections and offer advice on colour and designs. There's no pressure to buy anything.