Paradox: Sustainable Wooden Furniture - Stylla London

Paradox: Sustainable Wooden Furniture

“Sustainable Wooden Furniture” - this phrase sounds absurd to some people, given the wave of concerns around deforestation and global warming. However, truth be told, it is a far-fetched view of reality and we are going to share some validated facts here to prove why people should avoid using furniture that is made of anything but wood.

💡 Wood is a Renewable Resource 🌳

Most furniture manufacturers now source their wood from sustainably managed forests. These forests are responsibly managed to ensure that they are not being over-harvested, and that the local ecosystem is not being negatively impacted. At Stylla London, 100% of our furniture and home decor products are sourced from India. India has 23.34% of its total geographical area as “forest” as per the State records (ISFR, 2019). The forests are managed as per the provisions of working plans approved by the Regional Offices of the MOEFCC. 

We ensure that all our Sheesham wood and Mango Wood furniture is manufactured using ethically sourced and managed resources. Our manufacturing partners comply with the strict forest regulations in India and create a limited number of niche artistic pieces by hand. By purchasing furniture made from sustainably sourced wood, you are supporting responsible forest management practices and helping to ensure that future generations will have access to this valuable resource. 

The flip side is that the demand for wood products, including furniture, can lead to deforestation if not managed responsibly. Clearcutting forests to make way for logging operations can result in the destruction of vital habitats for plant and animal species, and can contribute to soil erosion and other environmental problems. Between 2005 - 2015, India too has been a victim of unchecked deforestation. Fortunately, now India has progressed substantially to keep a check on this situation and have strict laws and programs, such as Compensatory Afforestation, the National Afforestation Programme, the National Mission for a Green India (Green India Mission), the Nagar Van scheme and the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme, etc., in place to promote afforestation and ethical utility based use of forest resources. 

💪Durability & Recyclable ♻️

Wooden furniture is typically more durable and long-lasting than furniture made from other materials. When you buy wooden furniture, say a coffee table made from Mango Wood, you are investing in a piece that will likely last for decades. This means that you won't have to replace your furniture as frequently, reducing the amount of waste you generate and decreasing your environmental impact. 

Wood is a recyclable material, and wooden furniture can often be repurposed or recycled at the end of its life. In the UK, there are companies like Koubeh and The Upcycle Company, which transform old wooden furniture into new designs. This means that even if you no longer need or want your wooden furniture, it can still be put to good use. By contrast, furniture made from synthetic materials like plastic or foam is often not recyclable, and can end up in landfills where it may take hundreds of years to break down. Did you know, it takes approximately 15 years to grow a Sheesham wood tree to its full length, but it takes anywhere between 20-500 years for plastic to decompose.

While wooden furniture is often recyclable or repurposable, the disposal of this material can still have negative environmental impacts. Wooden furniture that is not properly disposed of can contribute to deforestation if it is burned, or to landfill waste if it is not recycled or repurposed. 

👣Carbon footprint & Health Concerns 🩺

The processing and transportation of wooden furniture can have a negative impact on the environment. Depending on the manufacturing process and the distance the furniture must be transported, significant amounts of energy may be required, which can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, the use of toxic chemicals in some types of wood treatment can pose environmental risks if they are not handled properly during disposal.

However, the production of wooden furniture itself has a lower carbon footprint than furniture made from synthetic materials. Wood is a natural material that requires relatively little energy to harvest and process, especially when compared to materials like plastic or metal. Additionally, the carbon stored in wooden furniture helps to offset the carbon emitted during production and transportation.

Moreover, in 2011, the Furniture Industry Research Association of UK published a report Benchmarking Carbon Footprints of Furniture Products concluded that calculating exact carbon footprint of wooden furniture is highly challenging and the key component that makes up the carbon footprint of an item of furniture is the amount and type of material used in a product. 

🕰️Timeless appeal 😍

Wooden furniture has a classic, timeless appeal that never goes out of style. This means that you won't have to replace your chairs and tables,  as frequently, in order to keep up with changing trends. By choosing wooden furniture, you are investing in a piece that will remain in style for years to come, reducing the amount of waste you generate and decreasing your environmental impact.

⛏️Promotes Employment & Conservation of Ancient Unique Artforms 🎨

Unlike lightweight furniture, mass produced in factories using moulds to pour polyethylene and polypropylene solutions, to give it shape and design, wooden furniture is mostly made by hand using simple tools for cutting and shaping each piece. India’s furniture and handicraft sector is largely unorganised and most wooden furniture, joinery and household products are made to order by small workshops or individual artisan, constituting 85-90% of the total sector. Stylla London gets its products manufactured and sourced from niche furniture/ handicraft clusters in small towns like Saharanpur and Jodhpur. Indian wooden handicrafts are in demand worldwide for their beautiful designs as these artisans have unique skills which they pass on to each generation informally and on the job. 

Overall, while wooden furniture can be a sustainable choice, it is important to consider the environmental impacts associated with the sourcing, processing, transportation, and disposal of this material. By choosing sustainably sourced wooden furniture and properly disposing of it at the end of its life, you can help minimise these negative impacts and promote sustainability.

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