Why Are We Not Buying Green Earth Friendly Furniture?

October 4, 2010
Green LivingIn the Bedroom

Who’s to Blame for People not Buying Green Earth Friendly Furniture?

The Industry as a whole: The furniture retailers, furniture manufacturers, and interior designers must not blame anybody but ourselves. We’re not educating the public and making them aware of products that are available right now items like earth friendly safe mattresses, furniture, and accessories.

Interesting note, most manufacturers aren’t building alternative products. They say it is because retailers, designers, and the consumers are not asking for them. So we are leaving it up to the consumers to be our industry innovators? Really, we as an industry are going to wait for the consumer to ask for something they no nothing about? We are the ones with the means,  industry experience, and industry knowledge to bring these innovative product developments to market to buy.

3 years ago STL Beds took the lead in St. Louis Missouri by offering green alternatives in mattresses, bedding accessories and soon will offer bedroom furniture, with a goal to do it for about the same price as non earth friendly products.

We believe the public’s desire to be educated in the area of home furnishings. This belief has been backed by the Sustainable Furnishing Council’s own study which stated that 75% of the general public cares about indoor air quality to varying degrees. They went on to say that 60-70% of us are already purchasing environmentally safe cleaning products, paper products and energy efficient light bulbs. 25% are buying energy efficient appliances, yet only 8% are buying green home furnishings.

Primary reasons why consumers are not buying green home furnishings is due to consumers lack of awareness. They also believe that some products may not be available in stores to see or concerned their that green goods may be too expensive. This accounts for about 73% of those that would consider purchasing sustainable products.

It essentially all comes down to education. It seems that what we do not know will not hurt us, at least not until it is too late.
A number of things have been made available over recent years to make green furniture environmentally friendly.

  • Low VOC finishes, sealers, and glues are safer alternatives such as clay based paints, whey, tung or linseed oil, bee’s wax
  • Conserve by reducing waste and conserving materials while saving energy in the process
  • Use of reclaimed woods
  • Choose woods that are plantations grown, or rapid renewals these species grow to full maturity in approximately 10 years or less
  • Consider water based finishes using 50g/L vs. EPA limit of 350. They dry faster and clean up is non toxic.
    The removal of formaldehyde from furniture is a major health factor. It is claimed by researchers to be a major cause of childhood asthma by major studies. Minimal exposure can cause eye and skin irritation. Major exposure can cause death. Government is taking major steps to eliminate formaldehyde from furniture and even mattresses, and upholstery fabrics.
  • PCB’s contained in many furnishings are a known carcinogen as well as plasticizers which make plastics softer and less brittle.

Simply offering consumers these environmentally and healthier choices instead of shoving the old ways of doing things down their throats will give the them the chance to show their interest by supporting these products with their hard earned dollars. If we educate the consumer in the ways of safe sustainable business practices and manufacturing methods, if we teach them that there are sustainable methods for growth of timber and harvesting textiles the educated public will recognize inflated costs from profiteers who are only green washing. They will choose competitively priced healthier earth friendlier and safe products instead.