Whether it's the "Attenborough Effect" shedding light on plastic use, an increasing awareness of global warming or the journey towards zero waste, nowadays we are all far more aware of the human race and its long-lasting effects on the planet. Because of this, many are starting to make changes to their lifestyle that incorporate a more sustainable way of living. They know that in order to keep the future of our planet safe, we need to make changes now. And when it comes to consumerism, shoppers are increasingly searching for buying choices that will contribute to this mission. Here at Hemming & Wills, this is a subject close to our heart. Not only do we want people to discover the pieces that will bring happiness to their home, but we want to give the opportunity to shop responsibly and sustainably too.
So what should you consider when making sustainable furniture choices? Take a look below as we highlight the key things to think about when going green.
One of the main ways we can live sustainably is by reducing the amount of waste we produce. This often, more obviously, looks like drastically reducing the amount of single use plastic we consume in our homes in a bid to prevent it from entering the ocean eventually. It can look like reducing our food waste and buying no more than we need. A less obvious, but still just as important, way of reducing waste is by reducing what we send to landfill over our lifetime.
In the UK, we send over 15 million tonnes of rubbish from our homes to landfill every year - that's the equivalent of burying over 100,000 adult blue whales! The good news is, there are ways we can start to reduce this - investing in furniture pieces that are built last is one of them. Long lasting furniture is built to a high quality that can withstand the wear and tear of life, whether your children or your dinner party guests. When you buy a stunning piece of furniture, you want to enjoy it for as long as possible. And there is value to be found in vintage pieces too - a quality piece of furniture can be passed down as a family heirloom, prolonging it’s life even longer.
When choosing furniture that is built to stand the test of time, it’s important to consider the materials your pieces are made from. Materials need to be able to handle years of use, from house moves to energetic kids or pets. Wood, as a material, is used far and wide, and for good reason. It has quality, character and durability - the perfect choice for sustainable furniture. Another which is particularly durable (and often mistaken for wood) is bamboo, which can even be harder than oak, depending on the type and species. And like bamboo, rattan is a strong wood-like material that is a member of the palm family. Often the choice for outdoor furniture, it is particularly durable when woven together and is slow to show wear and tear.
Steel, aluminium and other types of metal are a solid choice for long-lasting material. While the manufacturing of these metals may not be so green, they can easily be recycled many times over. Extremely durable, the metals you find on your furniture will often already be made of recycled content.
Our range ofreclaimed tables and benches are created with these things in mind, using reclaimed British pine chosen for its character and durability, with a seamless steel frame completing the industrial, modern design.
When materials such as oak or bamboo are taken care of, they really do last. This means that there is a lot of it already out there ready to be upcycled and given a new lease of life. Reclaimed wooden furniture can be praised for its unique characteristics, sometimes with the signs of previous use even adding to its appeal.
But it’s not just wooden pieces that make reclaimed furniture beautiful. The Moom lighting range that we stock here at Hemming & Wills is crafted by metal spinners based on the South Coast of England. They take disused moulds which had a former life creating airplane nose-cones, gas cylinders or musical instruments, and they breathe new life into them, transforming them into stunning pendant light pieces. Whatever material a piece of furniture is made out of - whether it’s wood, cloth, metal or plastic - there are always sustainable, earth-friendly options.
Pollution is still a big problem, and although society is becoming more and more aware of it, there is still so much that can be done. Choosing to shop local is one of the small things we can do that will have a big difference in the future. This is because it often saves in the amount of transportation needed to get a product from A to B, thus lowering the emissions that might have otherwise polluted the air. Whether it’s where the materials are sourced, or how a piece of furniture is transported from shop to customer, there are always eco-friendly options to be chosen.
Here, not only do we try to source local materials, but we also direct dispatch from our suppliers wherever possible to reduce unnecessary mileage and repackaging. Whenever you buy online, have a good look at the website you are purchasing from. There may be pages or badges that show you what they are doing to be eco-friendly, giving you the information you need to make conscious buying choices.
Finally? Adopt a minimalist mentality. With anything you choose to invest in, ask yourself how useful it will be within your home. Does it offer maximum functionality, comfort and ease of use, or will it need constantly replacing? Only buy the things you truly need and that you will get regular use out of. With carefully chosen, purposeful and meaningful pieces within your home, you can be contributing to a happier, healthier world for the generations to come.
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