IKEA, Bed Bath & Beyond, Home Depot…these are the names that often come to mind when we talk about furniture companies. While they do provide options for low-priced furniture, many of these retailers do not necessarily put a high priority on the sustainability of the planet. But there are a number of other brands that are adopting various sustainable practises to ensure their products are eco-friendly, whether it is sourcing it from recycled materials or limiting the amount of energy used during the production. Retailers can also reduce its carbon footprint via an online marketplace that requires less energy than a physical store. Here are seven sustainable furniture companies that are leading the way, listed from the most affordable to the most high-priced.
In addition to its relatively cheap price, second-hand furniture is a great and environmentally-friendly option for home decor, considering about 10 million tons of furniture and furnishings end up in landfills every year. One of the downsides of second-hand products is that most can only be viewed online and requires the hassle of customers contacting the owners on their own, not to mention the high cost of transportation. In answer to these inconveniences, Kaiyo offers an online marketplace that aims to cut out the trouble of bargaining with sellers, and provide deliveries to boot. Although there are no return policies, you do not have to worry about the quality of the goods as Kaiyo collects only the most sustainable furniture, cleaning as well as polishing all products before selling to the public. Sadly, this US-based company has yet to provide international shipping, you may hence need a third-party source if you are outside the country – try opting for Shipito, one of the most sustainable American shipping companies.
A unique variety of sustainable furniture companies can be found on Etsy, where the global e-commerce platform invites sellers to list their handmade, vintage items and craft on its online marketplace. These items fall under a wide range of categories, including reclaimed furniture. Reclaimed furniture are home goods that have been crafted from recycled wood. As each recycled wood has a different shape, every piece of furniture is therefore unique in its own way. Additionally, reclaimed furniture has a positive effect on the environment as it saves trees from being felled and consumes less energy during the process of crafting.
Camif is one of the leading sustainable furniture brands based in France, where goods are primarily sold online. 99% of its products are made in Europe, 73% of which are made locally in France. Materials across its product collections are also mostly sourced in Europe. Locally-produced furniture tends to be more ecologically responsible as it limits the amount of transportation, therefore reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emissions it would have produced should they be made overseas. The same logic applies to the transportation of materials, sourcing locally ensures low emissions throughout its supply chain.
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Photo credit: Burrow FB page
Burrow is an American startup launched in 2017 with the aim of going above industry standards to ensure that its furniture is safe for human bodies as well as the planet. As packaging is one of the most severe environmental problems today, where the amount of plastic thrown annually could encircle the Earth about four times. Burrow eliminates plastic from its packaging and replaces it with 100% recycled cardboard boxes. This company is also certified by CertiPUR-US, assuring that its furniture is made without PBDEs, TDCPP, TCEP flame retardants, lead and other heavy metals, as well as toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and phthalates – common in furniture as flame retardants, which are also used to facilitate the production. However, long-term exposure to these chemicals poses risks to the human body including cancer, hormone disruption and neurological damage. The lax regulation means we have to stay vigilant about the materials that we buy, especially furniture which we always touch. Burrow will be a perfect choice to minimise the amount of harmful chemicals in your home decor.
This American e-commerce retailer sells furniture that is primarily made from organic fabrics and FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood, which guarantees that wood is sourced from renewable forests in which the supply of wood can endure the demand in the long run. Besides its achievement on ecological sustainability, the company is constantly putting efforts into economic sustainability by working only with Fair Trade-Certified factories to ensure labourers earn their fair wages.
Grüne Erde is one of the a small number of sustainable furniture companies paving the way. This Austrian company prioritises sustainability by committing to producing eco-friendly products in their stores. The wood used in its goods are all sourced from European forests, 75% of which comes from Austrian forests, where reforestation is regulated as compulsory after logging. Grüne Erde is also a GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard) company, a certification that is only given to companies that have successfully met the strictest ecological requirements including ensuring 95% of all fabrics used in production must be natural fibres and that that it comes from controlled organic animal husbandry and cultivation.
In addition to the use of regional raw materials, this German brand takes it a step further by developing its own technology to improve the quality of its products, such as the use of polyrattan, a 100% recyclable plastic fibre which greatly increases the durability, strength and weather resistance compared to normal rattan. Moreover, the company, which specialises in luxury outdoor furniture, guarantees that zero waste is generated throughout its supply chain by recycling everything down to the aluminium shavings. Though the price of its products are higher than most furniture manufacturers, consumers can trust its strict adherence to sustainable practises.
Featured image by: ©StudiosGarnier pour Camif