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What are Eco-Friendly Furnishings?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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Eco-friendly furnishings are items for the home and office that contribute to a sustainable environment. These "green" products include both soft furnishings, such as sofa covers, and hard furnishings, such as sofa frames. They are becoming more and more popular as people look for ways to cut down on air pollution as well as pollution in landfills.

In many cases, both recycled and recyclable materials are used to create these furnishings. The glues and dyes used to make items are non-toxic, as are foams. Fabrics made from items such as recycled drink containers may be used. Today, eco-friendly cubicles, dividers, desks, and chairs can all be produced for the office. All the furnishings for the home environment, from sofas and tables to accessories, such as hemp pillows and organic cotton drapes, can also be made in an eco-friendly way.

Eco-friendly furnishings have a positive affect on indoor air quality. Traditional furnishings contain chemicals such as formaldehyde that affect the air in the room. Eco-friendly products use water-based or bio-based products that eliminate the use of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in many traditional glues and finishes.

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The use of wood is an important concept in this industry. Eco-friendly furniture does not include hardwood taken from forests that are considered to be ill-managed in terms of their ecological impact. Instead, lumber companies with a commitment to sustainability practices are chosen by manufacturers. Steel may also be used, since it's considered a "green" metal because it can be easily recycled. Actually, steel is the most recycled material worldwide.

While the idea of eco-friendly furnishings can seem limiting to interior design, the opposite is true if creativity is used. Refurbishing, recycling, and reusing materials offer many options for many different kinds of looks. Some companies make over items that would have ended up in the landfill. Any pieces that "green" furniture companies don't use are recycled whenever possible, and the continued recycling of manufacturing waste is part of the industry.

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