Here are a couple of facts for you: felling rainforests is estimated to emit 20% of all climate-crisis gases and the UK is the largest importer of illegal timber in the EU. If you find these facts shocking you might be wondering what you can do to help combat the illegal timber trade. One way is persuading manufacturers to stop using illegal timber, and choosing to invest in an eco sofa for your eco home is a good place to start.
Eco sofas are just as attractive, durable and comfortable as conventional sofas, but are far less damaging to the planet in how they’re built.
When shopping for an eco sofa for your eco house there are a variety of characteristics you should check to ensure they’re ecologically constructed, and not contributing to the illegal timber trade:
Made from FSC certified timber – Eco sofas should be made from hardwood timber that has been ecologically sourced. This means it has been cut from a sustainably managed forest and will be marked as FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) certified.
Constructed with water based adhesives, paints and stains – Most glues and varnishes used to assemble and decorate sofas contain chemicals that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air. Water based glues, however, are far healthier for both the planet and your family’s health. They contain a low amount of VOCs or none at all, which means they’re less damaging to breathe and don’t pollute the air in your eco home. Water based adhesives are also biodegradable, and can be easily disposed of without contaminating the ground.
Upholstery made from eco textiles – Conventional sofa upholstery is usually made from synthetic materials, such as nylon or polyester. These are derived from petroleum and are very polluting to manufacture. Eco textiles, on the other hand, are made from natural plant fibres which can be sustainably harvested and are less polluting to convert into cloth. Popular eco-textiles are hemp, organic cotton, silk and wool, and are much greener textiles for upholstering your eco sofa.
Cushions made from natural materials – Natural latex is made from rubber trees and is a greener, more ecologically sound alternative to polyurethane foam, which is made from petroleum. An eco sofa’s cushions should also be stuffed with a natural material, such as soybean oil, to reinforce its green credentials.
So when purchasing an eco sofa, and doing your bit to combat the illegal timber trade, make sure it ticks most of the boxes above.
You should also consider how you can best dispose of your old sofa. Rather than dump it in a landfill site, consider offloading it on eBay, donating it to a charity or giving it to an eco furniture shop. Many eco furniture manufacturers will refurbish old sofas so they can still get plenty of use in someone else’s eco home.