In recent years, most businesses have been taking steps to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly. And as the working world returns to the evolving hybrid office, there's a growing consensus of incorporating sustainability into office furniture choices.
To help you get started, this article shares some ideas and tips on being more sustainable in your office furniture procurement.
1. Look For Products With Longer Warranties
While most people tend to focus on office furniture's overall style, comfort, and durability, you also need to pay attention to the warranty period. Reputable manufacturers and retailers like Freedman's Furniture offer higher-quality items with extended warranties, guaranteed to last longer and provide more sustainable value.
This means you don't have to replace the furniture piece every few years and you can reduce your negative impact on the environment.
For example, did you know that the average office chair generates 72 kilos of carbon dioxide during manufacturing? As such, replacing a cheap one more frequently repeats the high carbon emissions in a vicious cycle. However, choosing furniture pieces built to last can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
2. Check The Materials Used
When shopping for new office furniture, looking into the materials used can help you understand how eco-friendly they are. In general, there are some things to consider when checking for materials.
For one, it's essential to always look for natural renewable materials such as wood. However, note that some engineered wood like plywood, particleboard, and medium-density fiberboard (MDF) can emit harmful gases during the manufacturing process. Check with the supplier if these woods have achieved a low-emitting target.
Most furniture manufacturers may also use chemicals in the manufacturing process, including flame retardants, adhesives, and polishes. These chemicals often contain semi-volatile organic compounds that negatively impact your employees’ health and the environment.
So, make sure to look for furniture pieces that are tested for safety standards. For instance, furniture pieces from freedmansonline.com, particularly cubicle workstations and desks, feature UL-approved materials.
In addition, make sure to avoid furniture pieces made from virgin plastics and opt for items that use recycled plastics instead. The use of eco-friendly upholstery and fabric is equally important. Wool is a renewable material offering significant benefits for office furniture, such as natural heat regulation and flame retardant. Other natural fabrics you should consider are cotton, hemp, and latex, which are highly biodegradable.
3. Reuse Furniture
The most sustainable furniture pieces are those that you already have. Look at your existing furniture and identify what can be repurposed and reused to contribute to your workplace objectives. In general, tired or outdated pieces can be reinvented or refurbished with creativity to look new or serve a different purpose.
When making the most out of your existing furniture pieces, you contribute to a better environment by reducing your waste while saving money to buy a new one.
4. Shop Local
One of the best ways to ensure more sustainable office furniture shopping is to purchase from local suppliers. Shopping locally is good for your local economy since you are supporting local businesses and the community.
That said, from an ecological perspective, shopping locally made office furniture can help reduce the need for long-distance shipping, which is a process that produces significant amounts of greenhouse gases.
Moreover, shopping locally gives you better transparency. You get to personally check if the furniture is made of sustainable materials and learn how it's made.
5. Consider Vintage And Thrifted Pieces
Instead of shopping for new office furniture, consider buying used ones instead. Vintage and antique furniture pieces are of higher quality than today's mass-produced pieces and have already stood the test of time.
Thrifting for office furniture, particularly office sofas and chairs, allows you to find unique pieces that give your workplace a one-of-a-kind look. Moreover, secondhand furniture items are also offered at fantastic bargains, helping you save on costs while contributing to a better environment. Some thrift stores may also use the profits to support local charities and causes, making you feel good about your purchase.
You can find fantastic deals at antique stores, flea markets, and online thrift shops. That said, before making a purchase, ask about its history to ensure that it's been well taken care of. There's no point in buying crumbling furniture that will end up in the landfill shortly.
As you can see, making sustainable choices for your office furniture doesn't have to be daunting. With some planning and the tips mentioned above, you can have an eco-friendlier office. As a result, you can reduce your office's carbon footprint, helping preserve the environment for future generations while improving your overall bottom line.
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