concept behind sustainable furniture is to have furniture created
while using as little of our planet’s resources as possible.
A big part of this is using sustainable methods to acquire wood. This
means taking care not to harvest wood faster than nature can replenish
it. In addition to being cautious with how much we are taking from
the environment, making wise choices about how we use the wood we
have is a big part of harvesting sustainably.
Sustainable methods and materials don’t require removing anything
from the environment that can’t be replenished. This also includes
a burgeoning industry referred to as ‘reclaimed wood’.
Reclaimed wood comes from a bevy of resources that are no longer in
use and just waiting to be reclaimed and reworked into useable furniture.
Salvaged wood from such sources as deconstructed buildings, natural
disaster sites, or unproductive orchard trees can all be reused to
create new furniture. Items created from these sources do not require
forests to replenish themselves in any way. Wood recycled in this
way is often at a higher level of quality than newer woods. This is
because it has had time to settle and does not shrink or warp.
A Rediscovered Wood Certification label from The Rainforest Alliance
ensures that recycled wood was acquired with sustainability in mind.
The organization is the world’s first global forestry certification
program. Along with letting you know the wood is safe and useable,
the standards require legal safety conditions for workers and the
protection of local cultures. There are additional standards set for
woods which have been gained through underwater salvage.
Bamboo is a wonderful resource for creating sustainable furniture.
Though it is stronger than oak, bamboo is actually a family of grasses
and not a tree. It does not shrink or swell and comes in many different
sizes. It also ranges in color from light green to dark red. This
makes it an excellent choice for creating beautiful and eco-friendly
One of the reasons that the bamboo is such a quality sustainable
material is that it only takes four years to reach maturity. This
is less than a sixth of the time it takes for the fastest growing
commercial trees to mature. When those commercial hardwood trees do
mature, they can only be cut once. The bamboo’s root system,
on the other hand, will send out new shoots after each harvest.
No pesticides are required in the growing of bamboo. It also stabilizes
the earth with its root system. This prevents erosion. The plant is
also capable of producing oxygen (even more than an equivalent amount
of trees.) It does require a large amount of water, however. Also,
harvesting bamboo too quickly can deplete soil fertility. For these
reasons there is some necessity of exercising caution in bamboo cultivation.
Still, bamboo remains one of the wisest material choices for creating