Thursday, October 7, 2010

Betty's tips for furnishing

Enjoy this article in your local Abode magazine, online, or here:

As you read this, you are probably sitting on something comfortable but substantially less “green” than Mother Nature’s floor (the dirt) or a Caveman’s favorite chair (a rock). We spend hours upon hours sitting or laying down on objects that are made of a combination of wood, glues, finishes, foam, and metal springs fashioned from materials from around the globe. Betty offers the following tips for green furnishings.

*Choose furniture with the least-toxic finishes and glues. Avoid formaldehyde and other flame retardants which off-gas, compromising your indoor air quality.

*Buy FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood, or products shaped from reclaimed materials. I spied a beautiful bench crafted by John Shumate, a Barboursville artisan, at Artful Lodger.

*Ask lots of questions about the product material and manufacturing process. Beware of greenwashing. Betty advocates going local, but you may have to purchase online.

*Think durability. Natural fibers are great, but can wear and tear and stain more easily.

*If you have budget limitations, consider going green with just one aspect of the product. Or get creative by upcycling a yard-sale find, or buy vintage so that the off-gassing is done. Also consider refurbishing or reupholstering with natural fibers like hemp.

*Look for the Greenguard certification or Cradle-to-Cradle certification (from local eco-firm MBDC) where the complete life-cycle of the product is considered.
Finally, when you are done with that old couch, be sure to visit Betty’s hard-to-recycle online search tool (web address below), or call a local charity.

Hope that helps!

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