Once upon a time, furniture was built to last. It wasn’t out of the ordinary to see a cabinet or a bookshelf pass through several generations. But things started to change around the turn of the 20th century. One of the many transitions brought on by the industrial revolution was a preference for cheaper, factory-made furniture. Copper knobs were slowly replaced with plastic ones and oak went away while particle board became prevalent. These “Ikea” options now make up the overwhelming majority of furnishings in the western world.
Now, the problem with this from an environmental perspective is that an enormous quantity of wood is used to meet this demand for cheap furniture. Since these pieces only last a few years at most, you can add up all the cheap furnishings currently owned by families around the world and multiply them by four or five to represent the totality of their cheap furniture purchases. Even if it’s particle board, that’s quite a number of trees being cut down.
Opting to buy quality furniture instead of the low-cost department store alternatives means that you’re going to be contributing less to the deforestation of the planet. If you’re looking to go green, there doesn’t seem to be a more direct way than to stop supporting an industry that is wiping trees out of existence.
Instead of giving your money to Ikea and other corporations that annihilate forests in order to provide consumers with the cheapest furniture possible, think about browsing sites where you can buy Amish furniture online, or find another place where you can count on finding solid, handcrafted furniture. It may cost more, in fact it’s certain to cost more, but in exchange for more price, you’re lessening the depth of your carbon footprint.
But that doesn’t mean that you have to completely sacrifice cost for a greener life. Over time you’re certain to actually save money by opting for more expensive furniture that’s made stronger and lasts longer.
Furniture that lasts a lifetime or more is certain to result in less of your money going to the purchase of replacement pieces bought from tree-sucking corporations intent on making sure you have to buy yet another replacement just a few years later. Therefore if your goal is to lead a greener lifestyle, opt for quality furniture and resist the urge to buy cheaper alternatives.