Sustainable Building & Decorating: Part One

We all would like to feel that we are being responsible global citizens, not adding to global warming and reducing our footprint on this world. One of the biggest challenges in trying to incorporate this mentality when your renovating is the lack of answers. We can ask ‘is it certified?’, ‘do you know where it comes from?’, ‘how long will it last?’ and “when thrown away, where does it go and how long does it take to break down?’. In most cases, these answers are not known. In this two part series we want to share with you some of the advice and tips we have for trying to reduce you footprint- from decorating through to full scale renovations. 

This week we are talking about decorating.

When redecorating or purchasing items it is important to keep asking questions- only then will the demand for sustainably sourced, crafted and recyclable products be prominent in the general marketplace. Some of the questions to ask are: 

Where does it come from? It it made in Australia or imported from overseas, if imported sometimes the next set of questions can’t be answered as the piece will often come from a factory.

What is it made of? Is that material certified? This question is especially important if buying wooden items, if imported try and find out if the manufacturer is part of a reforestation initiative so that you know that the wood is sustainable and they are reinvesting in planting what they cut down.

How long will it last? Not just wear and tear in the home, but how long will it take to break down- plastic chairs seem like a great idea but try and make sure they are made from partially recycled plastic or can be re-used if you only plan on having them for a few years.

How do I plan to use it? If your only planning on buying a piece of furniture for a few years ie: your renting and don’t want to spend $$ on something that may not fit in your next ‘forever home’- make sure your buying something which you can at least sell or donate so that it doesn’t end up in landfill.

Theres something deeply beautiful and moving when it comes to the ins and outs of the story about how products are made, the materials which are sourced and how it is all brought together. But sadly we are living in a world where we are forgetting about the story and we are more focused on the look, the price and of course the timing (we all want it now!). We are all after a more sustainable life but we get stuck, we get stopped and we simply get confused. But what is the answer? Does it simply come down to having more care, consideration and thought behind the selection of the things we buy? This can be hard when a shiny, new material is dangling in front of you, cheap, easy to maintain and yep can be installed in 2 days. We are often not thinking about the important questions- Where does it come from, how long will this last, is it certified, has it been smothered in chemicals?



INTERSTUDIO: Who have a strong commitment to Certified Sustainable Product
JARDAN: Whose goal is to create a smaller footprint, much of their foam, timber and fabrics are either recycled or 100% certifiably sustainable
TOTEM ROAD: Packaging can be a huge strain on the environment. We love that brands like Totem Road use fully recyclable and biodegradable packaging for all their furnishings.

With so many designers these days using recycled, reclaimed, and rapidly renewable substances, it’s never been easier to select sustainable pieces for your home. Sustainability should be for everyone, not only for those who can afford it.

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