How to Furnish Your Home Sustainably

April 20, 2022 | Expert Advice

Every day is Earth Day and it’s important that we shop sustainably year-round. Finding sustainable furnishings can be confusing and unclear, that’s why we’ll be explaining how you can do your part in keeping our planet clean.

There are millions of options when it comes to furnishing your home, and one of those important options to consider is the sustainability of the furnishings you are purchasing. Here at Resource, we’re constantly pushing the standard of sustainability to ensure we are protecting our world. We source all of our materials from the most ethically sourced and sustainable manufacturers, and curate pieces that are timeless and will last a lifetime. Let’s dive deeper into ways in which you can actively furnish your home in a more sustainable way.

1. Look for Sustainable Materials

There are many ways that companies can claim to be sustainable, from sustainably sourced wood, reclaimed wood, recycled plastic, and LED lighting, just to name a few. Organizations like the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) help certify that the harvested wood maintains the natural ecosystem without deforestation. One incredible benefit of wood is that it is exceptionally durable and can withstand the tests of time. This is why reclaimed wood has become such a popular finish in our product line, as it not only looks great but is a more environmentally-conscious option.

Sustainable furniture can also be certified as Cradle to cradle (C2C), meaning that the furniture can be disassembled at the end of its product life and can be appropriately recycled or reused in other furniture. Not only does this minimize the impact of our furniture, it also allows for a lifetime of use, as each piece can be repaired individually swiftly and with ease.

In terms of lighting, LED lights are the most environmentally-conscious option. Not only do LED light bulbs last 25 times longer than traditional light bulbs, but they also use exponentially less energy. In fact, LED light bulbs consume 90% less energy than a standard light bulb. Beyond that, LED light bulbs produce no toxic elements, whereas fluorescent and incandescent bulbs can be damaging to the environment. With the combination of their lifespan, low-energy use, and non-toxic production, LED light bulbs are the future of lighting. That is why we exclusively use LED lights in our lighting-integrated products.

2. Avoid Harmful Chemicals

It’s essential to look out for harmful materials that are typically used in non-sustainable products. Look for low VOC (volatile organic compounds) lacquers as they produce much less pollution in your own home. Solvent-based lacquers are much more polluting and opting for a water-based lacquer will greatly reduce VOCs and be an overall greener option for your home. Make sure to read the labels of your products and varnishes, as it is usually stated on the label if the product is low VOC.

A great indicator of low VOC furnishings is a GreenGuard Gold certification. This ensures that the item has a low level of VOCs and is a much safer option for your home. However, it is important to check the other labels as this certification does not test for other forms of harmful chemicals, such as phthalates. This is not to be confused with the GreenGuard certification, as without the Gold certification, it allows for much more VOCs to be present in the product.

Looking for CARB2 compliant furnishings is also important for your health and the environment! CARB2 applies to materials such as hardwood plywood, fiberboard, and particleboard. CARB2 compliance informs us that the material contains the least amount of formaldehyde. Beyond this, it also prohibits the release of formaldehyde into the air during the production process. Beyond being bad for the environment, formaldehyde can be dangerous to our health and cause sore throats and asthma attacks.

3. Buy for a Lifetime

The most sustainable thing you can do for your home is to buy for a lifetime. When determining what furnishings to purchase for your home, ensure these aren’t just trendy and cheap pieces that will need to be replaced in a year or two. 12.1 million tons of furniture ended up in landfills in 2018, and that number has grown drastically with the rise of cheaply-built furniture. Investing in timeless, carefully crafted furnishings can help reduce your environmental impact from start to finish.

At Resource, we understand some things do not have an infinite life span, such as mattresses. Typical mattresses last 5-10 years and are then dumped into landfills. Unfortunately, standard spring mattresses can take up to 100 years to decompose. And even worse, polyethylene memory foam mattresses can take up to 1000 years to decompose. That is why we offer a line of 100% non-toxic and biodegradable mattresses for all of our collections. Buying for a lifetime and opting for sustainably produced furnishings are the keys to protecting our planet and preserving your health.

If you’re searching for more information about our sustainability practices or want to get a better look at our sustainably built furniture, feel free to contact us or make a visit to one of our showrooms!

Listen to our co-founder Ron Barth explain what Resource is doing to push for a sustainable future.