When we think of household waste, we usually think of plastic or food waste. Most of us don’t consider the old sofa or broken nightstand we left on the curb, which winds up in the same place: a landfill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, furniture and furnishings generated 12 million tons of waste in 2018. We’re spending a lot of money on these items, too. In the United States, there’s been a reported $120 billion spent on furniture and bedding sales in 2021 alone.
The best way to combat furniture waste (and save some cash) is to resist the urge to redecorate and refurnish your home. While this may be easier said than done, there are several ways to liven your space without buying a whole new set of furniture. Reorganizing and upcycling the furniture you already have can go a long way.
However, when you need new furniture (sometimes that old sofa just has to go), there are several ways you can shop for new pieces sustainably.
4 Ways to Buy Sustainable Furniture
Thrift stores don’t only sell clothes; they also sell some great vintage furniture that could tie a room together. Vintage and antique stores are a great option if you’re looking for something specific, but thrift stores often offer lower prices. From bookcases to coffee tables to bed frames, there’s a wide range of unique options that can’t be found in chain furniture stores.
If you can’t find a thrift store near you, look to these online secondhand stores for affordable, high-quality sustainable furniture pieces.
2. Yard or Garage Sales
There’s nothing more exciting than finding a great purchase in your neighbor’s yard. Buying sustainable furniture—or any other knickknacks—from local garage sales is similar to buying from thrift stores: Either way, you’re finding a new home for a piece of furniture that needs one.
Scour nearby neighborhoods for garage sales. Sometimes, people even put their old furniture out for free when they’re cleaning out or redecorating. And don’t forget to check social media, like Facebook Marketplace, for furniture for sale in your area.
3. Sustainable Furniture Brands
There are several sustainable brands you can go to for an eco-friendly purchase. What makes sustainable furniture eco-friendly in the first place? Like most things, materials play a big part.
Furniture made from reclaimed wood, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood, or any other recycled material is excellent to look out for. Ethical manufacturing, low-emission transportation, and quality artisanship are also important. Try Avocado Mattress, The Citizenry, and Brentwood Home for sustainable furniture options, ranging from beds and mattresses to chairs and nightstands.
4. Small Businesses and Craftspeople
While larger sustainable businesses are great options for finding the furniture and decor you need, you can also check out smaller local retailers.
Local artisans make unique furniture pieces that can’t be found online or in big-name furniture stores. Purchasing their work tends to be more eco-friendly than buying from a company that mass produces its furniture in stock; just think about how many fewer emissions your local retailer makes compared to a large corporation.
See? Being more mindful about furniture purchases is easy, and these tips are a great place to start.
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