Fashion has been tackling sustainability head-on. We’re now paying more attention to where our clothes are made and what the material composition breaks down to, in an effort to become more conscious shoppers. If you feel like you have a pretty good handle on how to outfit yourself in a way that’s more eco-conscious but are stumped on where to begin for your home, you’re not alone. You probably know to avoid single-use plastics, but what about the bed we sleep in/work from? What about that new chair you’ve been eying? Which factor has a greater impact on the environment the moment you click “buy now”?
“Focus on the how,” says Dio Kurazawa, sustainability expert and founding partner of consulting firm The Bear Scouts. Working with fashion, automotive, and home goods brands, Kurazawa and his team collaborate on the blueprints for eye-catching, responsible products like the Dr Romanelli x LN-CC bean bag lounge chair, which was handmade from cuts of upcycled Adidas tracksuits. “If you’re able to embrace circularity by the use of upcycled or recycled materials, this would drastically reduce CO2 footprint and reduce the need for many of the traditional steps in textile creation.”
That’s not to say location isn’t important: When you consider that textiles can be made in one facility and then assembled as a final product in another region or country, the reduction of CO2 output heavily relies on the distance in between. Location also reveal local factory regulations that impact worker rights and waste management. However, the types of textiles sourced will also impact these factors along with determining the level of natural resources used to create them. “On top of that, the home care of textiles goes through a lifetime of wash and wear, further impacting water usage, and if the textile has plastics, these could end up in our water supply as microplastics after laundering,” says Kurazawa.
If you do decide to buy new, here are some tips for staying eco-friendly: Check for labels like Made in Green by Oeko-Tex, which verifies that the materials, ranging from knitted fabrics to leathers conditioned to last, were sustainably sourced under ethical working conditions and are free of toxins proven to be harmful to health. And for those who prefer the bohemian look over a slick metal layout, go for furniture built with woods that are FSC-certified and have proven durability, like teak, oak, and walnut.
While your local furniture boutique might be full of homegrown fixtures, purchasing an upcycled piece, even if it wasn’t made nearby, should be your first consideration. It’s the easiest way to reduce pollution and waste while you spruce up your all-in-one home/office/gym, which the planet will thank you for.
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