Great Green Idea: Green Furnishing: What is Recycled Furniture?

What is Recycled Furniture?

The words recycled furniture mean different things to people. For some, it is simply repurposing furniture they already own in order to save money. For others it means buying eco-friendly furniture that has been pre-owned in order to prevent the harvesting of new materials. Some other names used to describe it include sustainable furniture, green furniture, reclaimed or found furniture to name a few. But what it boils down to is that the use of the furniture helps to lessen environmental impact either by replenishing or saving resources. Another characteristic of this furniture is that materials used to make the furniture are as toxic and chemical free as possible. Yet there are many ways in which these characteristics can be expressed.

Hundreds of thousands of people furnish their green interior spaces with furniture and accessories that are eco-friendly. Because of this demand, regular furniture retailers are keeping their stores stocked with stylish pieces that reflect the green way of living. It is no longer unusual to find sustainable furniture or accessories right next to regular furniture in the same price range. The number of stores that design, manufacture and market recycled furniture has increased many times over in past couple of decades. These stores use materials such as iron, glass wood and other materials that have been reclaimed to craft stylish, brand new furniture. Some of their unique pieces are custom made. They view decorating as just another extension of their commitment to be socially conscious retailers. They pass their enthusiasm to the customer by offering a wide range of options at affordable prices.

Recycled furniture is also purchased at antique stores, flea markets and thrift stores. These stores sell vintage furniture is well made and most pieces have years of use still left in them. Customers get a quality piece of used furniture which prevents new resources from being harvested. Most of the pieces have been found or donated then cleaned and disinfected. The customer usually pays much less for the furniture than a comparable new piece would cost. Other recycled furniture is simply "found" by people at curbside. It is also known as dumpster diving. This furniture must be cleaned, sterilized and refinished with environmentally friendly paints and finishes before it is brought into the home. But many homeowners are very proud of treasures they have successfully rescued and integrated into their green interior d├ęcor.

Basically, furniture that has been reclaimed, repurposed or made with sustainable materials can be labeled recycled. Yet, there is really no hard and fast rule or definition that exactly captures its whole meaning. This furniture, like eco-friendly furniture, is an extension of what people around the planet are doing to preserve as many resources as possible. It's making use of materials and resources that are readily available rather than harvesting more. It's giving away unwanted pieces, saving landfill space, minimizing the carbon footprint and sharing with others all at the same time. The meaning behind the words are less important that the concept itself. Buying recycled furniture is a part of a world wide effort to save resources for future generations.

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