The Benefits of Making and Using Recycled Furniture
Buying brand new furniture is usually very expensive. But our thought process usually stops at the price issue, and not the surrounding issues. Issues like how many resources are used to create brand new furniture, or how much waste is produced in the creation of furniture. These issues are pressing and can be avoided pretty easily. While there are many products made from recycled materials, furniture is probably the last item you'd expect to be made from recycled materials. However, not only does recycled furniture make your home look unique and hip, it also makes your personal carbon footprint a lot smaller.
What Is Recycled Furniture?
Recycled furniture is a very simple concept. It is pretty much like any other recycled product, using recycled materials to create new furniture items. The most common materials to be recycled and made into new furniture is wood and metal, as those are the easiest to remade and reshape. And just like any other recycled product, making and using recycled furniture saves on a lot of resources being wasted by creating brand new furniture items. This means less fuel resources being used, decreased deforestation, less ending up in landfills, and a whole lot more.
One of the easiest ways to use recycled furniture is using old furniture and re purposing it. This is called upcycled furniture. So, upcycled furniture is probably a term that a lot of you are very unfamiliar with. Bascially what upcycling is, is the process of transforming by-products, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products of better quality. When looking at upcycled furniture, it basically is like taking that old, battered desk you have in your basement and turning it into something that you can actually use. If you are planning on doing this yourself, awesome, but it does require a bit of creativity and thinking outside the box. There are tons of ideas out there, like one uses an entertainment center and turns it into a laundry station.
You can pretty much upcycle anything around you. Got an old dresser? Turn it into a shelf or a game table. Did you get an armoire from your grandma and don't know what to do with it? Turn it into a spice pantry. The only limitations that recycled furniture has are those of your imagination and creativity.
If you are big on home decorating and keeping up or even head of the trends, then recycled furniture is definitely for you. The beauty of reusing wooden items is that the wood often still displays markings of paint or etchings from its previous use in life. Whether it is taken from a boat, or even a door, each piece is unique. What makes recycled furniture so awesome is that absolutely no piece will be the same. Each product will be different and look different, making you the only person with that specific product. Not only that, but it encourages others to take up the hobby by wanting them to make something just as cool and unique. That is the beauty of creativity, its highly contagious.
Examples of Recycled Furniture
While making your own recycled furniture can be fun, we already did an article on that, which you can find right here! In terms of what kinds of recycled furniture items you can go out and buy, there are quite a bit out there. While it is better to make your own, not everyone has the time or resources to do so. And buying recycled furniture can be just as eco-friendly. So, here are some examples of brands that design and make furniture out of recycled materials.
- Fiber Chair by MUUTO- mixing mid-century modern with a modern flair, their chairs are made from a form-pressed composition of plastic and wood fibers. These fibers are actually left over from furniture scraps, so it is kind of recycled meets upcycled.
- Terrace Table by Lubo Design- This company takes pieces of old barn floors and arranges them into a puzzle-like composition table. The floors are re-polished and refurbished of course, to make the table look like it is brand new.
- Indigola and Table Beleza by Weendu- At the intersection of African art and luxury furniture, Weendu uses recycled metal to create beautiful tables, chairs, and many other items.
- Scraplight by Graypants- Making recycled furniture out of recycled materials that were already recycled. Confusing? This company uses cardboard (90% of which is recycled cardboard to begin with) to create their items. The new Scraplight look is white, lacy, and romantic, actually inspired by Jupiter and the stars.
- Camp Club Chair by blankblank- Here we find fabric made from domestically sourced vegetable-tanned leather ad Sunbrella Heritage fabrics, that feature 50% recycled content.
- Collage Tiles by Peter Glassford- Using recycled scrap wood in a collage design, backed to 1/2" MDF boards. They can be installed on chairs, cabinets, or walls.
- Wheels by Wonderwall- Reclaimed hardwood paneling is weathered and aged to perfection. Wonderwall exclusively uses salvaged wood and even employs local professional craftsmen for their wood paneling collection.
- Mushroom Chaise by Terreform ONE- Yup, using mushrooms to make a chair. It is grown in one week from fungi, the seat is compostable at the end of its product life.
- Materials by Lapicida- We've heard of reclaimed wood, but what about reclaimed stone? Well, here is a great reclaimed stone floor. Each piece is carefully hand-selected by a world-class stone specialist for its color and character.
- Stone Forest Sinks- Paying homage to the era of Industrial Pedestal Sinks, these are crafted from 100% recycled materals.
Benefits of Recycled Furniture
There are a ton of advantages to recycled furniture that do not only benefit you and your home, but also your local businesses and even the environment! Essentially the benefits of upcycling are directly related to recycling. You're saving money, saving waste, promoting local business that may sell these products, and so much more.
In terms of the environmental impacts that recycled furniture has, they range from saving materials from landfills to reducing the use of natural resources. By reusing old furniture, you are saving that furniture from ending up in landfills. In a landfill, it will just there and break down. However, it may take YEARS for that to actually happen. Until then, it is just taking up space and polluting the land by creating more waste. In addition, by reusing old and somewhat worthless furniture, you are saving new furniture from being made. This is great because it saves the increased use of our natural resources, which has even more reaching benefits. These can include lower carbon emissions, lower levels of overall pollution, less use of materials, less deforestation, less killing of livestock and also keeping of livestock, and so much more.
There are also many social and economic benefits to recycled furniture. Not only is making your own recycled furniture cheaper than going out and buying new products, but if you plan on buying recycled or upcycled furniture, that can help promote whatever local business you are buying from. Plus those furniture items are typically still cheaper than buying brand new items. Not to mention you are also supporting the artisanal work of those craftsmen as well. Also if you are looking for a place to support artisans and buy inexpensive recycled furniture, Etsy is an amazing resource to use!
Lastly, recycled furniture has it's advantages for you personally. Making this kind of furniture yourself is a great way to use your creative powers and even improve your skills. Also, making these with someone else like your kids or partner is a great bonding experience. Plus, you'll be left with a one of a kind product that only you have, and that is just awesome.
Using and even making your own recycled furniture can be a great thing to try out. Even if you are not an overly creative or crafty person, there are many places where you can buy recycled furniture. Local stores are a great place to start if you are unsure where to look. For any other information on how to stay happy, heathy, and green, check out the rest of Green and Growing.
Image Source: Inhabitat