Not so long ago, everything we used to buy would last almost a lifetime. Everything was durable, whether we talk about electronics, transportation (vehicles), homes, or furniture. You would have noticed that sofas, dining tables, beds, or other types of furniture would last decades, and generations after generation could use them.
However, do you ever wonder; why the furniture was so good back then? Well, the simplest answer is “Quality.” People used to “value” everything they made or had. They would prefer quality over anything else, which is why they would use the same furniture for decades.
Change In Trends
Sadly, this hasn’t been the case anymore. Why? Because life has become fast, so fast that even Usain Bolt would have a tough time chasing it. Trends have changed, and most of the furniture available in the market is mass-produced, low-quality, cheap, and disposable. Yeah, that is the type of society we have turned into.
People nowadays find it more convenient to go for cheaper options, such as fast furniture. Fast furniture, to be honest, is another horrible side effect of modernization. Of course, it is cheap, fashionable, and easily disposable. Also, you can easily “throw” it whenever you want and buy the “latest” option to keep up with the trend. But the point is, fast furniture poses more problems than solutions. Here is why.
What Is Fast Furniture And Problems With Using Cheap Or Fast Furniture?
What Is Fast Furniture?
Fast furniture, as the name suggests, is a cultural phenomenon that targets mobility and ease. In simpler words, you can define fast furniture as “seasonal furniture.” The trend gained prominence as people nowadays are more into relocating, upgrading, or downsizing their homes or even shifting to new places quite often. This has created a need for fashionable, cheaper, and easy-to-breakdown furniture, and fast furniture usually caters to the needs.
Composition of Fast Furniture
Alright, the “fast furniture” idea seems quite fascinating because it is fashionable. But at what cost? If you don’t know, here is an eye-opener for you; particleboard is the most common material used in fast furniture. Particleboard contains some toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde. It is neither biodegradable nor recyclable because of the chemical resin that binds the wood particles and plastic laminate coating.
Disadvantages of fast furniture
To be honest, fast furniture is shockingly problematic and here is why
First things first, fat furniture is not durable. As we mentioned above, fast furniture manufacturers use particleboard which is covered in veneer or laminate. So, any damage to the surface means it will be almost impossible to repaint it like solid timber.
Moreover, particleboard may easily start rotting or swelling due to moisture exposure. Also, the laminate is prone to peeling away or splitting at the seams. All of this means that fast furniture is not a suitable choice for long-term plans.
Honestly, people want it, and companies keep producing it in bulk. For instance, IKEA produces 15 Billy bookcases every single minute; that is a lot of particle board, by the way.
We have already discussed this in the “composition of fast furniture” section. However, we only discussed particleboard and formaldehyde. But, do you know that fast furniture is nothing less than a “chemical cocktail’? If you don’t, here is a list of other chemicals fast furniture manufacturers commonly use;
- Flame retardants
- Leather-tanning chemicals
- Polyurethane foam
- And, adhesives
This means the fast furniture you are using emits carcinogenic and toxic VOCs that can deteriorate the air quality in your home.
Now, this must be a wake-up call for all of us; we are spending a lot of time around such toxicity. Should we look into alternatives? Something more environment-friendly? What are our options? Let’s talk about environment-friendly furniture, aka eco-friendly furniture.
Eco-Friendly Furniture; What Is It And Why Is It Better?
The good thing is, people have started realizing that they need to be more conscious about their health. It won’t be wrong to say that we spend a major percent of our time interacting with the furniture in our homes, offices, etc. Besides, the digital gaming industry “revolution” has opened new career opportunities for many of us, and gamers spend hours and hours in front of their gaming gears.
With that being said, people are now searching for more comfortable and eco-friendly options. We have medicated chairs, ultra-comfortable gaming chairs, and a lot more on the table. They are not only convenient, but most of them are eco-friendly. The question is, what does econ-friendly mean?
What Is Eco-Friendly Furniture?
Eco-friendly furniture, for starters, is furniture that has a minimum adverse effect on the environment. Eco-friendly furniture manufacturers use;
- Material or wood from renewable resources.
- Minimum use of hazardous chemicals that can have a polluting effect.
- Recycled items such as recycled textiles, salvaged wood, wood pallets, etc.
Apart from that, eco-friendly furniture manufacturers use seagrasses, rattan, and bamboo.
Why Should You Switch To Eco-Friendly Furniture? Advantages Of Eco-Friendly Furniture
We have already developed an understanding that eco-friendly furniture is GOOD for us. Here are some more reasons to strengthen our point;
Environmentally friendly furniture contains a negligible amount of toxic and unsustainable material such as formaldehyde (which can cause cancer). Other chemicals used in fast furniture may also cause irritations, hormonal changes, breathing disorders, etc. That means you are putting your kids and family in danger. So what’s the solution? Of course, eco-friendly furniture.
Reduces The Usage Of Wood/Minimizes Deforestation
Environmentally friendly furniture is a great way to reduce wood usage because it is mainly made of recycled and renewable resources. Ultimately, this helps in minimizing the deforestation process.
It Is Generally More Affordable
People mostly believe that eco-friendly furniture is expensive. Well, it may be true for few particular items, such as gaming chairs. However, eco-friendly furniture is generally more affordable than other regular furniture types because of recycled material.
Minimum Negative Effect On Environment
Eco-friendly furniture is a great initiative to keep the environment clean because of;
- Less usage of wood
- No or minimum application of toxic materials.
- Renewable sources
- And the use of recycled material makes it an automatic choice for an environmentalist.
Trendy and Looks Great
If you are someone who follows the trend but also wants to be on the safer side, then this is the option you should choose. For starters, eco-friendly furniture is trendy; celebs are constantly opting for this type of furniture. Second, it looks great if you know how to blend it with the right accessories and colors.
How to Buy Environment-Friendly Furniture For Your Office Or Home
How to buy eco-friendly furniture for your home or office? Tough question, right? Fret not; we have got you covered. Here are some valuable tips that can be very helpful in the process.
- Make sure the piece you are buying is durable. Generally, cheap furniture doesn’t last long and quickly ends up in landfills.
- Make sure you buy products that can be repaired and do not have to be thrown away when something is broken. Especially chair replacement parts are mostly standardized, easy to find online, and can be installed with little effort.
- What type of material has the manufacturer used? Look for the frame; is it particleboard or solid wood? Has the manufacturer used the spray on fiber to resist the chemicals? Pro Tip: The microfiber or leather material is a better option as it doesn’t need any strain-resistant spray.
- Closely evaluate the finishing of the furniture piece. Try to buy an item with water-based stain, paint, or finish because other materials may contain harmful VOCs.
- Always consider multiple options. For instance, exotic woods may look fabulous, but you can also consider stone, bamboo, or porcelain. Why? Because they don’t need harmful finishes and are more durable.
- Look out for green furniture certifications or terms such as;
- C2C (cradle to cradle)
- GREENGUARD certified
- Low VOC
- Buy locally-made gaming chairs if possible, this way the transport routes are reduced.
Are Expensive Gaming Chairs More Environmentally Friendly Or Is It Just Greenwashing Marketing By Companies?
Now, this is a very difficult question to answer. Are manufacturers really producing eco-friendly furniture? Are global certifications, such as cradle to cradle (C2C), GREENGUARD, etc., just a greenwashing marketing tactic? Before we move on to that, let’s talk about a globally recognized quality certification, cradle to cradle (C2C).
C2C is a certification (globally accepted) that urges manufacturers to produce eco-friendly products in different categories such as clothing, flooring, fragrances, office chairs, bottles, etc.
A C2C certified product must be able to pass these five categories.
- Material Reutilization
- Material Health
- Water Stewardship
- Carbon Management & Renewable Energy
- Social Fairness
The next question is, do the manufacturers implement what they preach? The answer is, Yes and NO because some of them do, while others don’t.
For instance, let’s talk about IKEA, a multinational giant famous for its exquisite and durable furniture. The company uses approximately 1 percent of the world’s commercially harvested wood. IKEA claims that all its paper, cardboard, and wood come from “more sustainable” sources. The term “more sustainable” seems to be rather vague. Apart from IKEA, there are many other furniture manufacturers who still get wood from unsustainable sources.
On the other hand, companies like Herman Miller are focusing on eco-friendly products. For example, “Mirra 2 Chair” from Herman Miller is C2C certified.
Mira 2 is a highly customizable chair with the following product specifications.
- 46 percent recycled content
- 93 percent recyclability
- Carbon footprint up to 25 percent.
Most importantly, Herman Miller uses a greenhouse manufacturing facility that consumes 100 percent renewable electric energy.
Eco-friendly furniture is the need of the hour. We are already facing a lot of pollution and destruction in our environment, and environmentally friendly furniture is a great way to reduce this damage. Yes, there are a lot of companies that are using greenwashing tactics, but many others are actually producing more sustainable and eco-friendly products. All you have to do is buy the right one for yourself.
Most importantly, eco-friendly furniture can be a little expensive (such as gaming chairs), but it is durable, comfortable, and health-friendly. Nothing is more precious than your health and wellbeing.