Well, Eco Friendly can mean that the furniture elements, like down, are sourced ethically or recycled. It is also sometimes a way of saying people friendly, meaning healthy for us to live with.
First a definition: Off-gassing is the evaporation of volitile chemicals, like formaldehyde (from plywood) or glues that are sometimes found in furniture. Other things that can off-gas are foam and flame retardants and dyes from fabrics.
*Is solid wood (pressed wood has formaldehyde and off-gasses into your home) or bamboo (incredibly fast growing and sustainable)
*Has finishes and stains that have low VOCs Volitile Organic Compounds(water based) that don’t off-gas chemicals into your home. Best if solvent-free and contain no biocides or preservatives,
*Uses water-based glues on upholstered and exposed wood products. Water-based adhesives emit far less VOC’s than their conventional solvent based counterparts. An adhesive that offers low to zero VOCs will be less toxic, less odorous, and less flammable
*Has low chemical use generally
*Has natural or recycled fabrics such as cotton, bamboo, linen or hemp with no fire retardants (eco wool provides a natural fire insulation)
*Upholstered furniture that use natural fillings such as natural latex* or natural soy foam, natural cotton for the padding, and natural jute webbing for the decking
*If using feathers or down, the product is procured from a source where the feathers are considered by-products from birds being raised for food or other purposes. The feathers and down should be cleaned with non-toxic substances
*Springs and screws can be made from recycled steel
*Locally sourcde hardwoods or sustainably forested wood (that’s for the environment)
If all this sounds outrageously expensive, you might be surprised.
But if you still think you can’t afford new furniture, try used, repurposed items or antiques. Many antiques or older furniture is made of solid wood and is a very good choice.
We have been living with a disposable mindset in our society now for many years. This mindset is starting to change and people are beginning to be aware of using more green practices.
*Natural latex comes from the sap of rubber trees, and is a naturally derived biodegradable product. Bacteria, mildew, and mold cannot live in latex foam, so it is very resilient and durable. Natural latex is also inherently much less flammable than polyurethane foam.