Sustainable furniture certifications explained: What is FSC wood? What does low VOC mean? What are Cradle to Cradle, LEED and Rainforest Alliance Certifications? What is Zero Waste to Landfill? Is wood a sustainable material for furniture? Is bamboo eco-friendly? What are furniture made of bio-based materials?
WHAT ARE THE REASONS TO CHOSE SUSTAINABLE FURNITURE IN YOUR PROJECT?
Furniture, Fixtures & Equipments (FF&E) fit out has a big impact on the environmental performance of a building because of its relatively short life span. For this reason, all decisions around FF&E are fundamental and it is essential to take more consideration when specifying furniture for our homes, hotels, restaurants, offices, schools and developments. Whilst aesthetics, price point, and functionality play essential role in the decision making, we want to include the greater environmental impact when choosing a product or manufacturer.
WHAT DO WE MEAN BY ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FURNITURE?
At Matter of Stuff, we are focused on our responsibility to work in both a socially and environmentally sustainable way. As change makers through our ongoing research we inform and influence the global design discourse, enabling innovative sustainable ideas to be brought to life. We are optimistic that the design sector can evolve into a transparent and responsible force for change. Our online store include a filtering system that allows the user to understand where goods are manufactured, if made from FSC wood, recycled material, low VOC or designed for a circular economy, cradle to cradle, etc.
When it comes to choosing eco furniture, there are green furniture terms and certifications, let's analyze them to understand what to look for.
WHAT IS FSC WOOD FURNITURE? IS WOOD A SUSTAINABLE MATERIAL FOR FURNITURE?
FSC-certified furniture uses woods that are responsibly harvested and meet the requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council. The Forest Stewardship Council or FSC sets the standards for forest management certification, which confirms that the forest is being managed in a way that preserves biological diversity and benefits the lives of local people and workers, while ensuring it sustains economic viability. We consider FSC certified wood a sustainable material for furniture. From retaining heat to having a positive effect on our mental health, there are many benefits to bringing wood into your project: it’s a renewable material, it lasts a long time, it can be recycled and reused, it absorbs carbon dioxide, it is great at retaining heath, all waste from manufacturing is reused and it has a positive effect on wellbeing and mental health.
WHAT DOES LOW VOC MEAN?
Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are harmful pollutant which are released into the air by chemicals contained in some furniture. Paints, fabrics, furniture, carpets and building materials can all release VOCs that cause allergies, migraines and asthma in people. When you choose eco friendly furniture made with minimal amounts of chemicals or low VOC, you’ll get less harmful pollutants because it means the product or finish is water-based or does not contain chemicals that can off-gas, or release into the air.
WHAT IS CRADLE TO CRADLE CERTIFICATION?
Cradle to Cradle or C2C certified furniture can be dismantled to be repaired and recycled or so that parts can be replaced. This practice extends the life of the piece and makes a piece more sustainable because it keeps it out of a landfill.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified
LEED promotes and awards certification for a whole-building approach to sustainability. To certify a building, LEED checks five categories: water savings, energy efficiency, sustainable site development, sustainable materials and good indoor air quality.
This certification confirms that a piece of furniture actually uses reclaimed wood.
ZERO WASTE TO LANDFILL
This award goes to companies that send less than 1 percent of their waste to a landfill.
IS BAMBOO FURNITURE ECO-FRIENDLY?
Bamboo is used because of its strength, beauty, and flexibility, and also because with its 4-year growth cycle and carbon sequestration capacity it is the most environmentally conscientious building material conceivable.
Not only is bamboo good for the environment, it also helps the people living in that space connect to nature which then enhances quality of life.
WHAT ARE FURNITURE MADE OF BIO BASED MATERIALS?
Bio Based furniture are made from biogenic material extracted from renewable sources, like biomass. Materials used range from organic waste, natural fibers to fungus such as mycelium or recycled wood, which is then converted into furniture.