Just a few short years ago, a homeowner asking a furniture manufacturer how much carbon was released during manufacturing and shipping would have been shocking. Awareness of the environmental impact that manufacturing has by consumers to do something about climate change has made conversations like that more common.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
People are assessing what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. There’s a good reason. Did you know:
- The average American creates more than 16 tons of carbon each year
- US households emit 8 tons of carbon dioxide from food consumption
If you want to see how big the carbon footprint is for your home, the US Environmental Protection Agency has created a carbon footprint calculator that can give you an estimate.
More homes are being built with a goal of being carbon neutral by reducing energy needs, including the use of technologies, including:
- Passive solar
- High-efficiency insulation
- Solar water heaters
- Ground source heat pumps
- Energy-efficient appliances
Some homes are being constructed or retrofitted to generate more energy than they consume to be truly carbon neutral.
Whether you’re ready to build the sustainable home of the future or just looking to help the cause, you may also want to consider outfitting your home with carbon neutral and sustainable home furnishings.
Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Home Furnishings
Every year, an estimated 18 million acres of forest are lost each year, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Many of the trees are used to make furniture. 90% of the furniture is also being made overseas in countries with fewer laws regarding air and water pollution.
Furnishing your home with carbon neutral and sustainable products is easier now than in years past as a number of companies are producing such products in response to consumer demand. This provides more options for people trying to live a sustainable lifestyle and embracing the carbon neutral movement.
IKEA is launching the AirCarbon product line from Newlight Technologies, which produces carbon-negative plastic from methane emission. Instead of letting carbon free into the atmosphere, it is using the methane gas and creating office chairs and soap dishes.
Avocado is making a green mattress using 100% certified organic materials and creating the world’s first zero-waste certified mattress factory. Through the use of carbon offsets, the company is also certified as carbon neutral. They also sell bed frames, end tables, and dressers.
Made Trade hand picks furniture from designers that practice sustainability during manufacturing, such as rugs, book stands, tables, and chairs. The company is also carbon neutral using carbon credits to offset transportation and shipping.
Looking for carpeting manufactured with responsible sourcing and ecologically friendly practices? The abc carpet & home company does that. Would you rather have carbon neutral wood floors? Interface flooring sells carpet tile, LVT, and rubber backing that are certified carbon neutral.
Hundreds of other companies are now leading the charge towards carbon neutral business practices, organic products, and sustainable home furnishing.
How to Find Carbon Neutral and Sustainable Home Furnishings
Unfortunately, some companies claiming to be carbon neutral or using sustainable products are doing it more as a marketing gimmick than a commitment to helping our environment. Even worse, some are stretching the truth about what they’re doing.
You will need to do a bit of research to find the companies that are truly making a difference. Look for companies that have taken the time and effort to become certified by independent labs for their ethical business practices, such as those with the GREENGUARD certification from UL.
Consider manufacturers that support the 1% for the Planet organization. Businesses are pledging 1% of their sales to help fund nonprofits that support environmental causes.
Transportation represents 28% of US greenhouse gas emissions. Even companies building products with reclaimed wood, recycled materials, or organic materials may be contributing to the problem if they’re not using carbon offsets. Ask home furnishing manufacturers what they are doing to offset carbon emissions during the transportation of goods.
The Demand for Carbon Neutral Processes and Sustainable Products
As public awareness has grown about climate change, more consumers are demanding sustainable products and seeking companies that are carbon neutral in their processes.
While we still have a long way to go, leading manufacturers are starting to respond by creating goods that match these consumer demands. It has become easier for consumers to act and find carbon neutral and sustainable products than ever before.