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What you need to know about buying eco-friendly furniture (and where to shop)

What you need to know about buying eco-friendly furniture (and where to shop)

  • 1 July 2019
  • OCBC Home Loans

Conscious buying is the way to go for a greener future. But how do you know the materials used are legit? Scroll down for our quick guide to what you should look for and where to shop.

Sustainability and ethical production are taking centre stage with furniture makers.

But when it comes to buying, what does one seek out? We give you five easy tips to follow (and companies to look for in Singapore) in your quest for a greener home.

Sustainably Sourced Timber

So, you’ve found the perfect wood-based sofa or table but you need to know if its eco-friendly claim is legit. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo will help keep your conscience clear. The FSC standards are high, and cuts across several issues. The certification means that the timber that has been harvested (usually in accordance with indigenous peoples’ traditional methods of felling) is replaced or allowed to regenerate naturally.

The rights of the indigenous people of the region are also assured – trees located in sacred sites within the forest cannot be reaped, for instance. Local workers run the forest, and are provided training, safety equipment, and a decent salary. FSC is approved by the likes of the World Wildlife Fund, Greenpeace, and The Woodland Trust. Best yet, all the wood is tracked from forest to store, with every link between the forest and the consumer clearly identifiable as to what wood in your product is FSC certified, and what is not.

Toxic-Free Paint And Chemicals

Paint and chemicals count in furniture production because they could have an impact on both human health and the environment. Look for products certified by the European Union’s REACH, which stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals, one of the most complex legislations in the EU’s history. A REACH-approved product assures you that the furnishing piece is safe for long-term use in your home.

Cruelty-Free Furniture

What’s the difference between a leather couch and one made from synthetic materials? Well, one’s made from what’s essentially skin, and the other, not. Vegan furniture is quite the rage these days, and retailers like Amazon are tagging pieces as such for easy searches. If you’re in a store, detective work might be required, such as asking whether the fill on pillows for a chair are made with down, or if silk was used for a sofa’s covering. Another question you might ask your retailer is if the piece you’re eyeing was humanely produced. This would also help cover the crafts people who worked on the piece. Be prepared to make a few calls to get the most accurate response to your questions, since your retailer might not have all the answers at hand. But they’ll sure know what production company was used and can point you in the right direction.

Ready to shop?

Here’s a shortlist of retailers in Singapore where you’ll find sustainable options for your home.

Danish Design

If you’re inspired by Scandinavian or Nordic designs, head to this retailer. You’ll find stylish pieces sourced from Europe and which use environmentally and socially sustainable raw materials and production processes. Look for brands like UMAGE and Bolia. The company also is proud to say that all furniture it brings in is toxin-free.

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Hommage Lifestyle

The focus is on Japanese design, with pieces handcrafted by skilled artisans. Look for pieces by Nagoya-based Yoshikei Corporation. Its Whisky Oak collection, featuring chairs, desks, tables, sofas and more made from whisky casks once used in distilleries.

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Kuhl Home

High-quality, safe and well-crafted kid’s furniture is the name of the game. Brands like Lifetime Kidsrooms follow the EU REACH standards, and are hand crafted with sustainable solid pine wood from Sweden. The wood is finished with environmentally friendly water-based varnishes and stains.

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