Furniture and ecological furnishings, how to navigate?

Adopting furniture or interior design (such as your interior decoration or sofas) respectful of the environment is becoming a concern more and more present in the minds of the French! However, once the awareness has been raised, it is sometimes complex to find the right solutions to furnish yourself in an ecological and sustainable way, while remaining trendy and without seeing the budget increase considerably.

Why adopt ecological furniture?

When it comes to furniture, it's hard not to immediately have in mind the few giants in the sale of furniture. Yet these large suppliers of furnishing elements contribute in several ways to the pollution of our planet. First of all through the transport of this furniture, often designed abroad to then be shipped to the various stores of these brands. This transport contributes to increasing carbon emissions that are harmful to the environment.

Thus, in a carbon assessment carried out in 2009, Ikea estimated its emissions for France at 520 tonnes of CO000 equivalent. More recently, the giant seems to want to commit to carbon neutrality, but the latter being scheduled for 2, pollution from the transport of furniture still has a bright future ahead. In addition, carbon emissions linked to the transport of furniture represented only 2040% of Ikea's total carbon footprint in France. The major part (estimated at 15%) being attributable to the movement of many consumers to get to the brand.

sources: Tribune article: Ikea France reveals its carbon footprint

But that's not the only drawback of this assembly line furniture. The materials used in the design of these pieces of furniture can also be singled out. The agglomerates, which represent a large share of the market for these brands, have several disadvantages for the consumer. First of all from the point of view of their lack of solidity. Thus, the furniture will hardly resist moving or dismantling for a move. On the other hand, they are often unsightly, or quickly out of fashion, which does not contribute to their durability, especially since they are difficult to customize or modify.

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Thus, it is often interesting to buy quality furniture, more expensive and more durable, and not to rush on the first import prices from the other side of the world. You will have a wide choice, for example, of qualities with a Maisons du Monde sofa many of which are manufactured locally, in Europe (Portugal, Bulgaria, etc.) and in FSC certified wood. Each product sheet indicates the origin of the product and the ecological criteria… remember to check before buying.

Finally, low-end furniture actively contributes to indoor pollution of the housing in which they are installed.

What is indoor pollution in dwellings?

Often overlooked, or underestimated, indoor pollution in homes is just as important a problem for our health as the outdoor air pollution !! It is largely linked to VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that are found in large quantities in our homes. But then what has to do with furniture?

Video presenting the dangers of indoor pollution:

VOCs are a group of volatile substances that actively participate in air pollution. Mention may in particular be made of butane, toluene, ethanol, acetone or else benzene, which are the best known. These substances can be found in many everyday products ranging from wall paint to household products, including deodorants. But they are also emitted by the agglomerated woods used to constitute the interior furniture.

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If the level of VOCs present in paints and construction products is monitored and limited by the legislation in force, there is nothing to control it when it comes to furniture. Indeed, labeling taking into account these harmful substances has been under discussion for several years but does not seem to have been made effective. Consumers must therefore trust the brand to integrate these elements into their approach. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility). A problem all the more important to take into account when we know that these agglomerated materials constitute a large part of the catalogs of furnishing of children's rooms, and are found in most of our sofas!

So what are the ecological furnishing alternatives?

Fortunately solutions exist to furnish your interior while respecting the environment! And since the best waste is the one that we did not produce, a first alternative to new is to go to a recycling center to perhaps find a second-hand piece of furniture that meets your needs. Emmaüs remains the best-known network with nearly 300 groups spread across France. But the concept is developing rapidly and it is likely that other resource centers are located near your home.

The site Alternative roofs offers, for example, a directory and a map of resource centers in France:

There are also more and more initiatives in the renovation and recycling of furniture. So we have an interesting example with the construction of new furniture using wood from end-of-life furniture:

Buying furniture brought up to date has several advantages. One of the most important being that of being a local solution, which will save you a long transport while allowing to employ a craftsman from your region. However, if you prefer to turn to a new product, it is still possible to contact a cabinetmaker or a carpenter in your region. Remember to check that the new wood used for the construction of your new furniture complies with the FSC standard!

Finally, a last alternative is to bring your furniture up to date by yourself. See to build it from scratch !! To reduce the cost of the renovation or construction, consider checking to see if anyone around you got rid of a piece of furniture that you could repair. Wood palette is also an inexpensive option and allows you to build furniture of all kinds for your interior.

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