From Garbage to Grand: Recycled Materials Use in Home Decor and Furniture

Earth has a garbage problem that has been growing worse as the years go by. According to the World Bank, humans generate over 2 billion tonnes of solid waste around the world annually. By 2050, the amount of garbage created across all populations every year will reach 3.4 billion tonnes.

And to this day, no one knows exactly what to do with it.

The Garbage Problem

Garbage is destroying the natural environment. You can find plastic bags everywhere and even in the deepest parts of the oceans. Plastic toothbrushes and plastic bottles dot the beaches of remote islands. Microscopic plastic particles have also entered the food chain, eaten by fishes and birds until they land on dinner plates.

Moreover, garbage exacerbates climate change. Landfills are collectively the third-largest source of methane in the United States. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas. It is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide, the most abundant anthropogenic greenhouse gas, at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

So now, consumers are looking for ways to minimize the garbage they throw away. On the other hand, brands respond to the increased demand for products that are less harmful to the environment.

Recycled as the “It” Material

Many brands have jumped on the bandwagon in the past couple of years and switched to eco-friendly practices.

Adidas, for example, has been using plastic trash collected from the ocean as raw material for their footwear. In 2018, the sportswear brand produced 5 million pairs of shoes made from recycled ocean plastic waste. By 2021, the brand hopes to create 17 million pairs of shoes manufactured using plastic waste picked up from beaches.

Designer Stella McCartney is also on the path to sustainability. The fashion house’s new pre-fall 2021 collection is 80 percent made from eco-friendly materials such as organic cotton and linen, responsibly sourced wool, recycled polyester and elastane, repurposed stock fabric, ECONYL regenerated nylon, and aluminum and stainless steel chains coated with PVD.

The green revolution has also infiltrated interior design. Nowadays, buying secondhand is in fashion. There is no stigma against thrifting for decors and furniture. There is pride in finding a gem amid all the old and worn items. Many people are upcycling used decor and furniture that they found in thrift stores, online marketplaces, and the side of the road.

But for those who neither have the time nor the talent to transform trash to treasure, there are also interior design brands that have embraced sustainability.

The major retailer Ikea has, for a long time, associated itself with fast furniture, products produced and consumed quickly. However, recently, even the famous Swedish brand has been making efforts to make its products better for the environment. Ikea pledged to use only recycled and renewable materials by 2030.

The European company Pentatonic has been using post-consumer waste to create tables, chairs, and other goods. The company says that users can recycle these items again at the end of their lifespan.

Are They Any Good?

There is an impression that products made from recycled materials look plain and boring. In reality, many products made with reclaimed fabric, wood, or metal are indistinguishable from those manufactured using materials that many consider new.

Metal is used everywhere, from food and beverage packaging to appliances. There is a lot of the material being used to manufacture a product and then discarded. However, manufacturers can recycle metal repeatedly and use them on electronic devices, vehicles, kitchen utensils, decor, and furniture.

Metal collected for recycling undergoes processing before they are shredded into small pieces and then melted. The blocks and sheets produced are sold to manufacturers to be used to create another product. The recycled metal can then be used normally. Manufacturers can shape it based on their needs. They can use laser cutting equipment to create designs and then polish recycled metals for sheen.

Reclaimed wood is also a popular material used in decor and furniture. It is sustainable because it does not require more trees to be cut down. It also means that wood, a valuable resource, does not end up rotting in a landfill.

Moreover, like metal, reclaimed wood is versatile. It can be reused as chairs and tables, bed frames, cabinets and drawers, and so much more. With a little staining and sealant, it will look elegant and charming.

There is no longer a reason why brands should use new materials when there is already a lot of fabric, plastic, metal, wood, and others in circulation. There is strong demand for sustainable products. All brands should switch to using recycled and reused materials in manufacturing.

Meta title: Home Decor, Furniture Brands Switching to Recycled Materials
meta desc: The planet is drowning in trash. Many home decor and furniture brands are responding to the global garbage problem by using recycled metal, wood, plastic, and other materials.

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