Nowadays, people aren’t choosing paint colours, fabrics, and furniture with just the design principles in mind. They’re making decisions based on how eco-friendly their options may be. People are aware of the impact their choices have on the environment, and they’re searching for materials that help them reduce their carbon footprint.
If you’re looking for ways to go green with your interior design, look no further than solid wood furniture. Choosing wood over other materials comes with serious environmental cachet, and it looks incredible in any space.
Here are some of the eco-benefits of choosing solid wood furniture when decorating your home.
1. It’s a Renewable Resource
Trees are the original renewable resource. Unlike plastics derived from oils, solid wood comes from trees that are planted and harvested for timber. That means the tree supply can be easily sustained, and with proper forest management, the world will never run out.
The lumber industry relies on sustainable forest management policies to ensure they grow trees responsibly. Thanks to these practices, forest certifications, and government regulations, North American forests grow more trees than what’s harvested each year.
According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCAN), Canada manages to harvest roughly 156.2 million cubic feet of timber. This is nearly 62 million cubic feet below the country’s estimated sustainable wood supply, which amounts to 217.9 million cubic feet.
Harvesting in Canadian forests uses up just 0.2% of its trees, while 4.5% of trees are disturbed by insects. In the U.S., tree cutting removes less than 2% of forest land per year. Compare this to insects, disease, and forest fires, which destroy 3% of forest land per year.
With regeneration policies in place, timber remains a naturally renewable resource. When you purchase a solid wood table, you can trace its source to these managed forests that will continue to produce timber for years to come. You aren’t buying into plastics and other materials that are finite resources.
2. It’s Made to Last
Investing in a solid wood dining table, bookcase, or desk helps you escape the fast furniture cycle. Fast furniture (also known as flatpack or preassembled furniture) is what you would find in a store like IKEA. It may go up quickly, but it deteriorates on a faster timeline, too.
A prefabricated bookshelf or bed frame won’t last more than a decade — certainly not generations as a family heirloom. That’s because these items consist of cheap materials that don’t stand up to daily wear and tear. Eventually, they show damage, start to sag, and fall in on themselves, at which point, you’ll have to throw them out.
Nearly 10 million tons of furniture makes its way into American landfills every year. That’s according to the EPA, which classifies furniture as a hazardous waste due to the foams, dyes, and adhesives used in these flatpack items.
Solid wood furniture, on the other hand, shows its material in its name. Organic wood in the form of maple, oak, and walnut withstand years of wear and tear because they’re tough.
Well-made solid wood furniture is also handcrafted with longevity in mind. Professional woodworkers like those at Woodcraft rely on years of experience to cut, join, and stain their pieces to ensure they last a lifetime. To see what solid wood furniture looks like when designed by the professionals, check out Woodcraft.ca and their catalogue of tables, beds, bookcases, desks, and more.
Every year you keep these pieces in your home, you don’t have to buy more furniture to replace them. This helps keep more money in your pocket, but it also comes with additional benefits. You won’t support the production of more furniture, and you can reduce what you send to the landfill.
3. It’s Reusable
Solid wood furniture stays out of the waste streams even if it never becomes a family heirloom. There’s a reason why solid wood furniture is often found in reuse centres and antique shops — their classic designs transcend time, and people buy them because they know they’ll last.
Tradespeople can also easily reuse and upcycle old lumber, salvaging materials from homes, antique items, and furniture to create new pieces without any new resources.
You can even commission a reclaimed wood dining table or coffee table for your home. These tables come from mature wood repurposed from other items, keeping older materials out of the landfill for even longer.
4. It Offsets Carbon Dioxide Emissions
When it comes to a solid wood table or desk, you probably aren’t thinking about its absorbency levels. You reserve that for the fabrics you choose for chairs, cushions, and couches. However, it’s true wood can absorb emissions.
As a tree, it absorbs carbon dioxide. According to Ten Million Trees, a mature tree absorbs 48 pounds of carbon dioxide each year. In other words, it offsets the carbon dioxide produced by driving a car for a year. Once absorbed, the CO2 remains in a carbon store, meaning it won’t re-enter the atmosphere even after it’s culled by the lumber industry.
5. It Purifies the Air
Solid wood furniture is better for the air quality in your home than other furniture options. That’s because it’s constructed from basic materials: lumber, adhesives, nails, stains, and finishes. Compare this list to what goes into particleboard and MDF, the most common materials used in mass-produced alternatives. Wood involves fewer chemicals that can be toxic when released.
All furniture emits Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which are toxins that can affect air quality and cause irritations, allergies, and even illnesses. However, solid wood furniture produces fewer VOCs than other options, and it’s thanks to its relatively natural list of materials.
All too often, the act of going green is synonymous with sacrifice. In order to reduce your carbon footprint, you can eliminate harmful habits and say goodbye to modern conveniences.
With this thinking in mind, it would be easy to believe you must put gorgeous design on the chopping block to be green. But in reality, you don’t have to give up on good design to be environmentally friendly. Solid wood furniture is testament that the eco-friendly choice can be the trendy one, too. Handcrafted and customizable, it can be tailored to suit your exact needs while providing these eco-benefits.