Greener is greater! Making sure your home office is a sustainable haven is an emerging necessity in today's interior design. From top to bottom, it's easy to integrate eco-friendly aspects into your workspace. Remember that it's OK to only follow a guideline or 2. Every effort matters, even if you aren't completely diving into a fully-sustainable space.

Start With Packaging

No matter how your furniture arrives, it will be packaged or protected in some way. From freight-delivered to ready-to-assemble pieces, the packaging may be made from different materials. Avoid plastic or foam wrapping, Styrofoam, packing peanuts, and other plastics when possible. Corrugated cardboard or molded paper solids are excellent alternatives that can be just as effective. Brands that focus on being eco-friendly will note their initiative, so pay attention to these pleasant disclaimers.

Prioritize Sustainable Materials

Even if it isn't always possible, it's important to prioritize materials that are sustainably harvested, easy to recycle, or free from finishes that make it difficult to recycle. Many solid wood products cannot be recycled by traditional means, such as curbside recycling, due to treatments, coatings, or paint. Laminates and MDF are equally difficult to recycle. Find dedicated programs through your recycling center to take advantage of material-specific recycling.

Metals—even aluminum—are often powder-coated or finished in a way that makes recycling difficult. As a rule of thumb, try to disassemble furniture as best as possible and take a visit to your closest recycling center. If you can, hold on to screws, nuts, and bolts to reuse them for other projects.

A Little TLC Goes a Long Way

The more care you put into your furniture, the less waste you'll introduce into the world. Learn how to best clean different materials (hint: a little bit of mild dish soap in a bucket of water can work wonders on many surfaces) to ensure they stay looking just as good as the day you brought them home. Invest in quality furniture to extend your length of use, and look for finishes, such as high-pressure laminate, that are made to last.

Look for Timeless Trends

As you're shopping, look for pieces that can blend in with trending décor styles. As styles come in and out of fashion, your furniture shouldn’t be replaced repeatedly. Especially if you're shopping for well-made, sustainable furniture, it's best to ensure that you won't have to constantly replace these costly pieces. Basic silhouettes are always a sure shot, but finishes are often a topic of trend. The more neutral and agreeable, the better.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

When your existing furniture has run its course, there's a wealth of ways to extend its life to reduce waste. If you need to dispose of it, there are always eco-friendly ways to make sure you're recycling as much of it as possible:

Repurpose in Another Area

When your desk has run its course, think if you have any other uses for it. Could it become a work surface in a downstairs workroom or a storage shelf in a shed? If you're feeling ambitious, there's no shortage of upcycling tutorials online to give your pieces a new look and life.

A Second Chance Somewhere Else

Whether you're using an online marketplace like Facebook or Craigslist or donating your pieces to a charity, finding a second life for your furniture is a great way to reduce waste. Even if it's older or of poor quality, furniture rehabbers are often willing to make a project out of older solid pieces. Less expensive RTA furniture may find a second home at a low price or free exchange.

Recycle the Right Materials

Look at the different parts of your desk, chair, or other furniture piece and determine if any of the components are recyclable. Because regional recycling programs differ, consult your local waste management authority for information on how to best recycle different types of laminate, manufactured wood, textiles, and more. You might even be able to find specific recycling programs that will disassemble and properly recycle your components for you.



Leave a Comment

Your comment has been sent.