This is a guest post from site supporter Jennifer Smith.
Making your home healthier can be overwhelming at first. Do you transform your entire life, or do you just focus on a few wasteful practices? Do you replace everything in your home? If you plan to completely revamp your life you better be prepared to find best credit cards to fund this overhaul without crazy interest rates.
Replacing your furniture is a huge step that can reduce the toxicity of your home and improve your indoor air quality. Here's a guide for going green with your furniture.
Adhere to the Cradle 2 Cradle ethos—C2C is an industry-wide standard for sustainable manufacturing. A C2C certification signifies that a product has no dangerous synthetic chemicals, is recyclable, is made with an efficient use of energy and employed fair labor practices. There are many furniture companies that stick to a strict C2C game plan. Steelcase, for instance, is an international furniture manufacturer that is considered an industry leader in terms of spearheading renewable energy and sustainable products. Herman Miller Inc. is another great green furniture company. Focused mostly on office equipment, this manufacturer plans to eventually be a zero waste company that uses 100% green electricity.
Invest in eco-friendly upholstery—It's not just the wood you need to look out for, but the upholstery as well. In general, you'll want to avoid leather, conventional cotton, and polyester. These materials are all responsible in their own ways for the pollution of local ecosystems because they are manufactured using coal-tar, heavy metals, fertilizers and other harmful chemicals. You can find alternatives in organic hemp and organic wool. These are great materials for upholstery and are both renewable resources that are naturally fire-resistant, meaning you won't need toxic polybrominated flame retardant chemicals.
Look for reclaimed lumber—If you're going to build the furniture yourself, look for reclaimed lumber. This wood is anywhere from 100 to 300 years old and culled from older properties and industrial factories. Reclaimed lumber is sustainable, versatile, stable, beautiful, and has a historical heritage that will increase the value of your home. Ask your local furniture manufacturers where you can buy over-harvested, reclaimed wood that is kiln-dried. Many people say that woods like longleaf pine and American chestnut have a unique color range that works in everything from ceilings and countertops to coffee tables and butcher blocks.
Investing in sustainable furniture and non-toxic upholstery can help improve your home's indoor air quality. It may or may not run up a slightly bigger tab on your credit card, but in the long run it will be well worth the value it adds to your home's price and appearance and the benefits it creates for the health of the environment.
Image Credit: Photo via Herman Miller Inc.