What does sustainable furniture really mean?
The species of timber used for making furniture is perhaps the most important decision when it comes to sustainability. For example, a very commonly used species in New Zealand is Kwila. The problem is that Kwila is primarily logged in West Papua where key rainforests are clear felled and indigenous communities are displaced. This problem is well documented and protested but that hasn’t stopped containterloads of the timber species landing on our shores regularly. See news article here.
A similar story applies for many other species of timber and we believe they should be banned entirely. That is why we opt for sustainable and ethically sourced timbers only. Our favourites include New Zealand’s Foreverbeech which is harvested on the West Coast of the South Island using some of the most heavily regulated and monitored methods seen on the globe. To see how Foreverbeech is sustainably harvested, click here.
We also use FSC certified plantation pine grown in New Zealand. If we are requested to use other species, we do our research to ensure it is sourced sustainably and ethically.
We stay well clear of any chemical-based coating systems such as polyurethanes or lacquers.
Using natural oils and waxes made locally, we can still offer a full range of colours that are very durable. In fact, natural coatings generally ‘wear in’ rather than wear out, like a leather jacket or old church floor. It is designed to be used, and the gradual wear and tear becomes a characteristic feature of the timber. This cannot be said for most chemical-based coatings as they require sanding back and re-coating once the wear and tear has damaged the top surface.
By choosing locally-made and natural coatings such as tung oil from the tung nut above, we ensure that the suppliers, our staff, your family and even our wastewater systems are not exposed to petrochemical off-gassing or waste.
It is not uncommon to see furniture wrapped in shrink-wrap plastic, polystyrene, or other petrochemical-based materials. There is no need for that in this day and age, so nearly all of our wrapping is fully compostable such as paper wrap, cardboard, hardboard corners, woollen blankets and hemp rope. Simple stuff, really.
We have all witnessed a decline in the quality of many manufactured goods since we started importing much of what we use from overseas. The endless race for cheap and convenient products has resulted in a trend of disposable furniture; items not meant to last for long. This is not only extremely wasteful as it contributes to our ever-expanding landfills, but it also isn’t good value for money in the long run. We believe furniture should be prized possessions and handle heavy use in a commercial setting, or be passed down generations.
Keep it local
Simply put, the closer you are to the place where goods you consume are manufactured, the less carbon miles are required to transport them to their final home. Bringing furniture in from overseas is really quite unnecessary. Let’s support our local community and minimise our impact on the planet at the same time.
Contact us if you have any further questions or suggestions for improving the sustainability of our company. We are always looking to improve and refine our commitment to looking after our customers and the planet.