Investing in eco-friendly furniture for the office is not only important in terms of the environment but also in terms of the impact on the health of everyone working in the office. Here we look at some of the important aspects of ‘going green’ at work.
Low toxicity furniture
It is not immediately apparent that furniture affects the air we breathe; however, most new furniture will release substances into the air. This is known as outgassing, with some synthetic materials and those treated with synthetic substances releasing toxic chemicals. Most commonly these chemicals are volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have been linked to cancer, birth defects and endocrine disruption. Substances such as formaldehyde and flame retardants are volatile organic compounds commonly outgassed by furniture.
Some manufacturers use materials such as glass, metals and woods that do not emit VOCs. Low and zero VOC stains and paints can also be used for finishing furniture, making the desks or chairs much safer for your employees to use.
Buying from a supplier you can trust means you will know what type of chemicals you are releasing into your office and whether these are at acceptable levels. Resources such as Treehugger have more information on choosing greener furniture and minimising your company’s carbon footprint.
Buying as locally as possible can reduce pollution, as the furniture will not have to be transported so far and emissions are reduced. Choose furniture from manufacturers that have clear policies on recycling as much waste as possible. Suppliers such as https://www.easyofficefurniture.co.uk/ stock a large selection of office furniture.
Reclaimed materials such as wood and recycled metal are obviously greener than virgin materials; however, even when it is not possible to use these, some woods that are more sustainable than others and your supplier can advise you about these. Using wood from sustainable sources will help to reduce the impact deforestation is having on the earth. Our forests are an invaluable resource supporting the lives of many people and we cannot afford to destroy them.
High-quality and durable furniture is also the best choice for avoiding adding to the increasing landfill burden. Well-made furniture will last longer; therefore, even if you decide to change your office, someone else will be able to make use of the desks and cabinets you no longer require.a