Are you the type of person who is constantly re-inventing yourself through your clothing, hair, and home décor? Or maybe you are engaged in filling the empty spaces of your first home, or ditching the mismatched furniture set that you got from Mom, Dad, Grandma, and the dumpster when you first moved in to your house. Whatever your reason for customizing your living space, you should be aware that there are quite a few ways to do it in an environmentally-friendly fashion. And if you are as concerned with the state of our planet (and our impact upon it) as you are about finding the perfect throw rug to go with your sofas, then there are a few things you should consider before you toss your old furniture in the trash and go hog-wild at Pottery Barn.
1. Reduce and reuse. Cut back on your contributions to local landfills by taking older items and giving them a new life in your home. Can’t stand those ugly vases your husband’s Aunt Lettie gave as a wedding gift? Drill a hole in the bottom, paint them in a pleasing hue, thread a light fixture through the center, and add a shade for some snappy new lamps that cost less and reduce trash.
2. Recycle. If you must do away with certain items, don’t let your thoughts stray immediately to that handy dumpster behind the fast-food joint down the street. Instead, donate any usable or salvageable items (furniture and other house wares) to a local shelter or a business that refurbishes and sells reclaimed items (in some cases you can even get a little cash). You can also consider posting an ad on Craig’s List to see that your old objects make their way to a new home and a second life.
3. Buy reclaimed. If you’re doing a major overhaul of your home, consider using some reclaimed items yourself. For example, if your cabinets are unstable, don’t meet your spatial requirements, or must be torn out for another reason, then look at some of the many options available in reclaimed hardwood cabinetry. Save trees and money! The same principle goes for floors, countertops, and even furniture.
4. Go local. Some people just can’t stand the thought of brining used furnishings into their home, no matter how good the concept may be for the environment. If you simply have to have everything new, at least look into supporting local artists and craftsmen, many of whom eschew harmful materials and processes that large-scale manufacturers rely on for low-cost mass production. Believe it or not, your consumer dollars can make a difference, and you might also end up with some really unique décor to show off at your next dinner party.
5. Get organic. Instead of filling your house with allergen-trapping synthetic fibers (which can’t be recycled and are made through harmful chemical processes), consider purchasing furniture, pillows, rugs, drapes, and other linens that are made from organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo fibers, or humanely treated wool. You’ll promote less allergens in your home and support farms that keep chemicals out of the soil and out of your life.
Kyle is a writer for scented candles, where you can find an amazing assortment of high end brands at competitive prices.