The EPA found that 136 million tons of municipal solid waste, including packaging and furniture, was sent to landfills in 2014 alone. This is a staggering number that has environmentalists concerned. In the past, furniture was built to last generations. However, as mass produced and cheaply made furniture brands, such as those found at IKEA, are on the rise, so too are the amounts in which furniture heads to landfills.
Unfortunately, not much of this is able to be sent to recycling plants. So, rather than contributing to the detrimental and wasteful furniture industry, opt to recycle and upscale materials to make eco-friendly, do-it-yourself furniture at home.
Expand your Pallet
One of the best ways to make sustainable eco-friendly furniture is to use materials that are often delivered straight to your door. Pallets are one of the most versatile and easy to use materials, as they can be transformed with joiners to become chairs, tables, artwork, planters, and even beds. Pallets make the perfect solid wood base for any piece of furniture. But, if you're thinking that this sounds great, except for the fact that you don't happen to have a pallet lying around, don't fret! Simply head to your local recycling center or even small businesses that get large shipments, where you will often be able to score a pallet or two for free.
Invest in a Sander
Rather than buying a cheap plywood dresser that is bound to break or go out of style within a few years, head to a thrift or vintage store and look at the timeless solid wood pieces of yesteryear. Often, you will find something that looks a little beat up, but the bones are good. Using a sander and a stain you can make an old piece of furniture new again. Doing this not only allows you to have a lasting piece of furniture, but it also helps to reduce the amount of both new and old furniture headed to rot in landfills.
Connect with Others
If you're more of a minimalist, or you just don't have the time or interest to build or repurpose your own eco-friendly furniture, that doesn't mean that you can't contribute to the sustainability movement. One of the many wonderful things about sustainability is that it is a community. And, in this community, people are ready and willing to help others. So, if you're looking to get rid of a piece of furniture, rather than toss it in the trash, reach out to local businesses.
Wayfair - one of the world's largest online selections of furniture, home furnishings, décor and goods, including more than ten million products from over 10,000 suppliers.
It is more than likely that others in your area will be able to extract wood, metals, and even plastic from your furniture before the remainders, if any, get sent to the trash. Even if not all of it can be used, any little bit that is saved is just another little bit of the planet that is saved in the process.
Guest post by Sally Collins
About the Author
Sally Collins is a professional freelance writer with many years of experience across many different areas. She made the move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family and travelling as much as possible.
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