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WOOD, A WISE CHOICE TO FURNISH YOUR HOME

Source: Unsplash

Photography by: Clem Onojeghuo

November, 2nd 2020

Wooden furnishings are an integral part of most homes. The question is, can they be traced back to a sustainable source? Yes, yes they can.

 

Words By Lida Ormol 

Nothing seems more practical than going green and bringing nature into every corner of the home. Now, more people are making greener choices in various aspects of their lives in order to reduce their carbon footprint. Creating a home that is environmentally friendly should be at the top of that list. Over the last few years, adorning our homes in wood has reemerged as a trend due to its sense of purity and minimalism. Up until recently, wooden furniture that is sustainable has so far been perceived as an out-of-budget luxury for the average consumer. However, the winds are shifting and people are starting to splash out and invest in more sustainable options. 

Whilst a sleek, dark toned oak table is most certainly appealing, purchasing new wooden furniture can have a detrimental impact on the environment if it is not sourced sustainably. Checking for sustainability certifications is the best way of avoiding such harm. For instance, the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is the most reliable and ensures that products come from well managed forests, reducing the environmental impact as well as benefiting social and economic sectors. If FSC certified furniture cannot be found, the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is equally helpful. By purchasing certified products, consumers are ensuring that fragile ecosystems are protected, native cultures and economies are respected, illegal logging is prevented and clear-cutting is restricted (the removal of all trees from a selected area).

Source: avocadogreenmattress.com

Finding certified wood can be a challenge, but furniture retailers should be upfront and know about their certified wood options. One can also easily locate certified wood retailers through the FSC or SFI’s database search on their websites. Another rising concern for consumers is the price of certified wood which tends to be at the top end of the market depending on the efficiency of the supply chain. In fewer cases, certified wood may be priced more affordably when having to compete with cheaper, irresponsibly sourced furniture. For this reason, a thorough comparison between suppliers is suggested before making any purchase. 

Certification on furniture should not only apply to wood, but every other material and process behind its production. For instance, glues, paints, finishes, as well as the distance the product has travelled in every step of its production right up to the customer’s doorstep. 

Currently, the world seems saturated with tragic news when it comes to the environment. Clearly, we are in need of a little hope and optimism that there are steps we can take to leave a more positive impact on the planet. Here are some of the reasons why wood is good as the green solution for furniture:

Wood Is Renewable

Forests grow back after a harvest, and unlike other natural resources, wood is the only building material whose volume is constantly increasing. But renewable does not mean our resources are endless. If the rate of consumption is greater than the rate of renewal then we will run out. Trees must be actively cultivated fast enough to match the rate of wood consumption.

Wood Helps Tackle Climate Change

Trees release and absorb carbon dioxide throughout their life, but the cycle does not end there. When they are processed into timber and wood products, they continue to store carbon. At the end of the product life cycle, it can be recycled and reused. The recycled wood would help in keeping the carbon footprint very low, and limit the use of newly milled timber to some extent. Opting to reuse the wood means no to less materials are sent to landfill or reburned, both of which pollute the environment.

Photography by Dan Otis from Unsplash

Wood Has Zero Waste

Thanks to the drastic technological advances in the last few years, wood manufacturing has become a zero-waste industry. To elaborate, the by-product from every stage of the production process can now be conveniently reused or repurposed into other wood products. Moreover, the actual processing of wood products demands less energy, carbon and water in comparison to other raw materials.

Wood Is Durable

Wood is a robust and durable material that makes for the perfect choice when looking to furnish a home, proving to be great value for money.

The following list comprises a selection of sustainable woods and their typical uses:

White Ash: sports equipment and furniture 

Oak: floors, cabinets and furniture

Maple: stair treads and furniture 

Black Cherry: a red-tinted wood used for veneer, furniture, cabinets and doors 

Mahogany: another popular choice for furniture 

White Pine: a soft wood used for crafting, carpentry and furniture, and is particularly sustainable due to its rapid growth 

Bamboo: fencing, flooring, home décor items, and furniture

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Without a doubt, wood represents an excellent choice for furnishing a home with sustainability in mind. The benefits of choosing certified wooden furniture cannot be overstated. No household could resist the warmth and richness that emanates from a sturdy, mahogany cabinet, or table, chairs, wardrobes and so the list goes on.