Sustainable furniture – making the right choices

June 2020

There’s been a gradual move towards the use of more sustainable furniture products in the office over the last decade as a growing number of organisations, keen to deliver on their green agendas, look to do their bit for the environment.

For those who want to make sustainable decisions in the office, furniture is certainly a great place to start…

Reuse and refresh

One of the most sustainable solutions is to reuse or refresh your existing furniture.

Reusing it as is, and just moving it from place to place, means that you don’t get the excitement and feeling of investment that comes with a whole new look, though.

On the other hand, refreshing or refurbishing old furniture allows you to achieve a highly cost-effective, updated look while maintaining a low environmental impact and giving your current items a new lease of life.

Furniture can be refurbished with special fabrics that can withstand the application of liquid guard to make them anti-viral, which is an option many businesses may wish to consider in the current times.

Recycled materials

Furniture that’s created from components reclaimed from other old furniture, whether that is parts that have been taken and reassembled, added to or melted down, means that less new materials are used. This, of course, would seem to have a significantly reduced impact on the environment than opting for wholly virgin products.

There are drawbacks with goods that incorporate recycled materials, however.

For instance, there aren’t necessarily any cost benefits as manufacturers recognize the value of these goods and cost them accordingly. These pieces can also require substantial resources in order to remove impurities and reform them, which can negate some of the positives you’re aiming to achieve by using the materials.

Furniture that is recyclable

If the options above don’t suit, it’s worth looking out for the goods that are marketed as recyclable. Mainly wood or metal items, these can be recycled at your local recycling centre.

For those who are now considering desk shields and sneeze screens, there are 100 per cent recyclable, cardboard 3-way desk shields now available, made from 80 per cent recyclable materials. Around a third of the cost of Perspex, these screens are sustainable and cost-effective.

Benefits to going eco

Older furniture is more likely to have been manufactured using toxic materials which, of course, flies in the face of our concern for staff health and wellbeing. Changing the furniture provides an opportunity to set a new agenda and to bring your company in line with acceptable sustainability criteria, while taking steps to minimize the risk of the spread of Covid.

If you’re considering investing in new furniture as part of a full office overhaul, or even if you just have single items that are due an upgrade, this is your chance to source furniture that has less of a carbon footprint; that is FSC certified; made from environmentally friendly materials and that provides you with a far greener option.

It also enables you to purchase ergonomically sound items, that members of your team will prefer, while demonstrating that you’re a responsible company that is fully engaged with environmental matters.

Want more information and advice on sustainable furniture choices? Call or email the team.