Green, sustainable, eco-friendly or ethical:
What does it mean? What is the difference?
Green furniture – is a way of producing furniture that is sustainable and eco-friendly for the environmentally conscious consumer.
Sustainable furniture – is based on the closed-loop cycle of recycling. The goal of sustainable furniture companies is to design furniture that can be continually reused, disassembled and then reused again – or that can be used throughout a lifetime.
Eco-friendly furniture – By limiting its carbon footprint while living in a healthy and unpolluted environment, eco-friendly furniture is attracting more and more individuals and professionals.
Ethical furniture – is based on respect for workers: fair wages, fair environment and fair work conditions.
But what is a durable piece of furniture exactly? What are the advantages of our eco-friendly furniture? And what labels enable us today to identify green, sustainable and eco-friendly furniture?
Why invest in sustainable or eco-friendly furniture?
To make a piece of furniture, whether it’s a large table, a child’s stool, a large sofa or a simple shelf, several types of resources and, more or less, natural materials are used. Investing in sustainable or eco-friendly furniture allows you to live in a healthier environment while reducing your carbon footprint.
Limit the use of materials harmful to your health
Originally, furniture was mainly made of solid wood and assembled using small pieces of metal. But in the early 1950s, the construction market grew. Manufacturers and designers were looking for cheaper coatings and easier-to-work materials: the advent of plastics, aluminum, and composite and synthetic materials. These materials made it possible to make cheap furniture easily and quickly.
Today, modern furniture contains even more processed materials, and composite materials such as:
- chipboard (the famous chipboard used by all the furniture giants) which contains formaldehyde based resin
- fiberboard (MDF: Medium Density Fiberboard) that contains also formaldehyde based resin and several synthetic materials.
However, these materials, often used excessively, pose risks to health and the environment.
VOCs are a result of manufacturers using unnatural and sometimes toxic substances, like solvent-based lacquers, to treat or finish a product. Especially when they use chipboard and fiberboard. Solvent-based lacquers contribute to the pollution in your home by emitting, or off-gassing, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), like formaldehyde. Water-based lacquers are a green alternative to finishing wood furniture.
Indoor air quality is often 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air quality
The harmful substances used by the furniture industry are indeed numerous (heavy metals, VOCs and formaldehyde…). They can diffuse into and pollute your indoor air for several years. VOCs can cause irritation, itching, headaches, breathing disorders and more serious chronic diseases. They are found in certain particle board glues, foam padding, several types of coatings (lacquers and varnishes) and also certain textiles and leathers.
Manufactured with noble and raw materials, durable and eco-friendly furniture does you not expose to such dangerous products.
Reduce your carbon footprint and your environmental impact
Whether it’s furniture for your home or your office, the production, transport, sale and recycling of furniture is responsible for energy consumption and can have a negative impact on nature and the environment.
The more processed and complex the materials, the more energy is needed to manufacture, process and recycle them. They produce a certain amount of greenhouse gases (especially because of the use of many paints, solvents and glues) and their energy balance is generally negative.
Today, initiatives are multiplying to encourage, accelerate and promote sustainable development and the protection of the environment. The furniture market is no exception! More and more brands and designers are placing these concerns in the center of their thinking process and their approach to creation. We have therefore decided to facilitate access to this eco-friendly furniture.
In short, investing in our sustainable and eco-friendly furniture allows you to live in a healthy environment, while fighting against mass production and decreasing your ecological footprint to help protect the environment.
Design and ethical furniture throughout the manufacturing process
From eco-design and the use of eco-materials, the entire manufacturing process and life cycle of our durable and eco-responsible furniture are part of a responsible and reasonable approach. Inspired by human, social and environmental values, our main goal is to successfully limit the ecological footprint throughout the design, manufacturing, logistics and distribution process to preserve nature and the resources of our planet.
Our sustainable and eco-friendly furniture displays functionality and design, at affordable prices. Adopting a sober design, they are made of noble, natural materials of quality.
Sustainable and eco-friendly furniture from We Design Green is made mostly from wood (oak, ash, birch, poplar, Douglas fir). Purposefully selected and sourced from sustainably managed forests in Central Europe, these natural resources are then processed and worked by local artisans, who are close to the raw materials. This makes it possible to limit the pollution caused by the transport of goods. Unprocessed, the materials are easily traceable.
Several criteria allow us to identify sustainable or eco-responsible furniture:
- a collection of environmentally friendly raw materials;
- the use of a raw material, solid and durable, recycled or recyclable;
- a homemade production;
- local production;
- a limited transformation;
- an assembly without glue and a treatment based on natural products (varnish with water and natural oils);
- limited transportation time;
- reduced packaging;
- easy maintenance, requiring no products that are harmful or dangerous to health;
- simple disassembly, repair or recycling at end of life.
10 criteria allow us to identify sustainable or eco responsible furniture:
French and European labels to identify sustainable furniture
Several French and European labels now certify sustainable and eco-friendly furniture:
- the wood labels FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and PEFC (Forest Certification Recognition Program): they guarantee the traceability of the wood and certify that it comes from a forest managed in a sustainable way;
- the German label Blauer Engel (https://www.blauer-engel.de/en);
- the European Ecolabel: it guarantees a durable product of high quality, the limitation of certain substances dangerous for the health and pollution of the interior air.
You can find more information on these different labels (https://www.ademe.fr/entreprises-monde-agricole/labels-certifications) on the website of the Ademe (Environment Agency and the Master of Energy).
Discover our sustainable and eco-responsible furniture soon on our shop!