Tips for the best sustainable materials
The best selection of sustainable materials consists of recycled materials such as salvaged wood, recycled textiles and wooden pallets.
In addition, natural materials such as bamboo, rattan and sea grass are excellent for furniture and other home decor objects.
Second-hand furniture and vintage pieces are also great choices for the eco-balance. Use vintage or antique pieces because they are often handmade and durable.
Also, their makers often used fewer chemicals than modern vendors.
Certified sustainable wood
Whether a piece of furniture is made of wood, fabric, metal, plastic or whatever, there are always environmentally friendly options.
Because of the prolonged problem with the deforestation of our planet, it is therefore particularly important to pay attention to certified wood products.
Trees not only absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, they keep the surface of the planet cool and the soil together so that it remains rich in nutrients.
Trees are also a habitat for animals, insects, birds and other plants. Sourcing wood is not generally bad and there are sustainable ways to harvest wood.
Wood from sustainably harvested forests or tree farms are the main sources of environmentally friendly sourcing. For this, look for the FSC® seal, for example.
Reclaimed waste wood
If wood is well cared for, it can last a very long time and be reused often. Many designers take advantage of this to repurpose what wood already exists on the market.
Reclaimed wood usually comes from old furniture, houses or other things, from defective wood or from waste from a factory where other things are made.
Some recycled wood itself comes from logs that have sunk to the bottom of bodies of water. In any case, furniture made from reclaimed scrap wood is a good example of resource efficiency.
However, there is not yet an official seal for the reuse of reclaimed wood.
Our furniture is sometimes made of oak, birch plywood and MDF (medium density fiberboard), which are mainly glued softwood.
Our premium material is Finnish birch veneer laminated wood (FU birch). It is also called multiplex because it consists of cross-glued layers of veneer, which creates a characteristic edge look.
It is lighter and at the same time more robust than MDF, but also more expensive.
Bamboo, recycled metal and plastic
As mentioned above, bamboo is very popular as an eco-commodity because it grows quickly and is versatile.
Bamboo is not a tree but a grass and belongs to the family of grasses, ranging in size from tiny to huge and in color from lime green to maroon.
Bamboo can be flattened into flooring, shaped into furniture, pressed into veneer, sliced into blinds - or you can simply build an entire house out of it.
Using bamboo in buildings can earn architects and builders LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) points if they are careful about where they source it.
LEED® is a voluntary certification program that aims to strengthen and promote performance of sustainable buildings.
Most bamboo comes from China and is grown with little or no pesticides. Because it grows so quickly, it is much easier to maintain healthy bamboo forests.
However, this also means that a lot of water is used and harvesting too quickly can affect soil fertility.
However, some growers use pesticides and other chemicals.
Furthermore, some bamboo products may be assembled with glue, which may contain formaldehyde, depending on the supplier.
More and more furniture is made from recycled plastics and metals. Recycled materials require less processing, fewer resources and support the market for recycled materials.
Technologies are constantly improving, resulting in recycled plastics and metals becoming higher quality.
Recycled metals are especially well suited for outdoor spaces because they are weather resistant and stand up well to the elements.
Thanks to new technologies, you don't have to worry about the metal rusting and can basically assume the material will last.
If you have a limited budget, vintage pieces or furniture made of bamboo are a good alternative.
Straw clay and adobe
Straw clay and adobe are often overlooked when buying furniture materials, yet they are environmentally friendly all-rounders.
Adobe is a natural combination of materials used for construction and design. It is made of sand, clay, water and a type of fibrous organic material.
Once dried, it is extremely durable and can last a lifetime. Straw clay is similar in principle to adobe, but is composed of different materials.
It is made with a combination of subsoil, water, fibrous organic material and sometimes lime, depending on availability.
Both options are fully biodegradable, making them particularly environmentally friendly and sustainable.
Straw clay and adobe are so durable and reliable that houses were built from them. Some of these houses and towns still stand today.
That's impressive when you consider weather patterns, different changing climates, wind, natural signs of use, and a host of other factors.
Straw clay and adobe are great materials for making chairs, frames, tables and much more.
Those who like to be creative can use these materials to make their own furniture.
In addition, products made of straw clay and adobe can be easily painted over with other environmentally friendly paints.