Retail furniture industry has sustainability opportunities

Countless people strive to be more eco-friendly these days. The retail furniture industry is no different.

The good news is that the benefits of such practices don’t end with the environment; sustainable design and manufacturing is often far cheaper than regular processes, enabling companies to reduce waste and reuse materials, reports the websiste Triple Pundit. In addition, sustainable living has become incredibly popular, and those following suit will often see a new kind of customer loyalty developing.

There are, of course, industry standards furniture and accessories must adhere to, ensuring they are safe for retail and use; complying with such laws will only enhance each item created.

If furniture retailers are to embrace the benefits of sustainability, they must first investigate the changes that need to be made during the design and manufacturing processes. For traditional retailers, including family-owned outlets and older companies, this often means reassessing practices that have been used for a number of years, while newer retailers may already have factored sustainability into their business plan. Eugene Chrinian, CEO of Factory Direct, understands the responsibility his business has toward the planet. Ashley HomeStore, which is owned by Factory Direct, emphasizes sustainability, recycling and replenishment as much as profit.

Recycling: One of the simplest ways for furniture retailers to consider the environment during the design process is to recycle; whether it’s disposing of waste materials in an ethical manner, reusing resources that would otherwise be thrown away, or collecting pieces from previous seasons’ ranges to use during the design process, more and more companies are becoming aware of the importance of recycling. In addition, many brands are able to impress upon their customers the importance of eco-friendly living and sustainability, as the design and manufacturing process travels full circle.

Using sustainable materials: While it’s true that certain resources, including oil that’s often used during the manufacturing of plastic, will one day run out, more manufacturers are turning to sustainable materials during the design process; planning to make items of furniture out of wood, for example, and designing interiors that complement the natural environment, ensures that resources can then be replaced. Many companies, will go on to replenish the forests from which they take their wood, lowering the environmental impact of their furniture and providing for future generations.

Upcycling and pre-loved furniture: Whether you refer to the items as second hand, pre-loved or repurposed, there’s no denying that there’s a trend for furniture that has lived before; while such terms were usually reserved for flea markets, tabletop sales and vintage stores, many more mainstream retailers are jumping aboard the pre-loved bandwagon at present. And what’s not to love about upcycling? It’s a way for retailers to reinterpret previous bestsellers, while using materials that would otherwise go to waste. In addition, upcycled items tend to be unique, adding huge value to the ranges that furniture retailers are producing.

Making allowances for non-toxic substances: If a furniture retailer hopes to be truly eco-friendly, while contributing to sustainability, it is essential that they research new methods of creating their products, including the use of non-toxic paints and natural and maintainable resources. Assessing the ways in which furniture is produced is also key.

There are numerous other ways furniture retailers may choose to nurture the environment, including adopting the minimalistic approach; by designing furniture to use minimal resources, these retailers make sure that nothing goes to waste, and that we’re able to adopt clutter-free and cost effective lifestyles. 

Topics: Architectural Firms, Consulting - Green & Sustainable Strategies and Solutions, Furniture / Sustainable Furniture for Commercial Buildings, Healthy & Comfortable Buildings, Interiors, Sustainable Communities, Urban Planning and Design

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