Image via Sofas by Saxon
Matt Deighton is Managing Director at Sofas by Saxon, a manufacturer of luxury British sofas and furniture. In this post, he explains how you can create sustainable interiors while supporting low-waste manufacturing.
Leading an Eco-conscious, low-waste life means making mindful choices in everything you do, from the clothing you wear to the food you eat. Even the way we decorate our homes can make a big difference in our overall environmental impact. So, it's very important you try to make conscious, low-waste choices when it comes to your interiors.
There are three key ways you can do this. Firstly, by avoiding so-called "fast-fashion" furnishings; secondly, by supporting ethical, low-waste British manufacturers; and, thirdly, by choosing natural, renewable materials where you can. Here, I'll delve into why these actions can make a difference, and offer tips for designing a greener home.
Invest in Quality Furnishings to Fight "Fast-Fashion" Homeware
The British public throws away 22 million items of furniture per year, according to a survey carried out by Mattress Online and published in Real Homes. That's a staggering amount, and the vast majority of it will eventually go to landfill or end up in an incinerator. Much like fast fashion — where clothing is designed to be worn a few times and then thrown away — the nation clearly has an addiction to buying cheap, mass-produced furniture to follow the latest interior trends. But unfortunately these furnishings don't last and, before long, they've either broken or become passé.
So, how can we ensure the furnishings we buy aren't contributing to the huge amount of furniture thrown away each year? The key is to shop mindfully and buy the best quality you can afford. Try to buy from companies that make their products by hand, using the best materials and craftsmanship. It may cost more upfront, but the cost-per-use will make it a solid investment that will last a long time.
You should also try to avoid following the latest trends and instead go for timeless designs that really speak to you. This way, you'll know that the furniture you're buying is built to last and, because you love the way it looks, you can be sure you won't soon tire of it.
Buy British For a Sustainable, Ethical Home
The way your furniture is made is only half the battle — the journey it has taken to get to your home can also contribute to its overall carbon footprint. For a sustainable home, you should always try to buy British-made whenever you can. When you purchase something from a local company, the finished product will have much less distance to travel, which can greatly reduce CO2 emissions.
Plus, British factories and workshops are subject to much stricter labour laws than those overseas, meaning you can be confident that your new furniture was made ethically. We also have stricter laws about waste management and recycling here, meaning that buying British is a great way to support low-waste manufacturing as a whole.
Image via Sofas by Saxon
Get Natural, Eco-Friendly Materials Where Possible
It's important to try and buy furnishings that are made using sustainable, Eco-Friendly, and low-waste materials. Here are a few of the best options:
FSC-certified wood: Creating very cheap furniture usually requires cheap wood, which is very rarely sustainably sourced. To make sure you're not contributing to deforestation and the many environmental issues it causes, you'll need to make sure that everything you buy is FSC-certified. FSC stands for the Forest Stewardship Council, and the certification means that the timber was sourced from responsibly managed forests. Don't forget about "hidden" wood, either: even soft furnishings like sofas, ottomans, and pouffes are usually built on a timber frame.
Bamboo: Bamboo is incredibly fast-growing, meaning it can easily be renewed, and it takes less energy to grow and harvest than wood. It can be used to make all sorts of products, from fabrics to furniture. It's a great all-round sustainable material.
Organic natural fabrics: Many synthetic fabrics contain types of plastics, and so are not technically biodegradable. So, always go for natural fibres, like cotton, high-quality wools, and linens. For extra sustainability brownie points, choose British-made fabrics where you can.
Recycled materials: Lots of homeware brands are starting to get inventive when it comes to upcycling non-biodegradable materials, like plastic bottles, rubber tyres, and old fabrics. This stops those materials from ending up in landfill.
If you’re determined about leading an Eco-conscious lifestyle, it is important to make mindful choices when it comes to your home's interiors. By supporting British, low-waste manufacturers, choosing natural and renewable materials, and buying quality furnishings that will last, you can help to make your home that much greener.
Thanks for reading!
Matt Deighton, MD at Sofas by Saxon.
P.S. Take a peek at the unique hand-made to order artisan furniture at sofasbysaxon.com.
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