November 15, 2017 Green Living Written by Emily Folk
How to Use Wood-Grain Furniture More Sustainably
When you are both budget-conscious and

eco-conscious, using wood-grain furniture has a natural appeal to your aesthetic. However, you might be afraid that the purchase of wood-grain furniture supports deforestation, among other industries harmful to the environment. Sourcing virgin wood means felling trees and processing them, which disrupts the entire ecosystem of a forest.

These facts don’t mean you have to protest against purchasing and using wood-grain furniture in your home. Wood-grain furniture is durable and beautiful, and sustainable sourcing and production options are available to you without the guilt of supporting potentially illegal loggers.

The impact of illegal logging and sustainable wood practices

Illegal logging has a major impact on the reducing number of forests in the world. Illegal logging companies pay off corrupt governments to ignore their activities. How do you know where your lumber comes from? What if you end up supporting illegal loggers, anyway?

The best way to stop the support of these companies is to buy wood products that are certifiably sustainable through the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). While cheap wood particle board is affordable in theory, it creates more waste in landfills, and natural wood products last a lifetime. The FSC regulates the use of illegal chemicals and pesticides and honors indigenous peoples’ rights, thanks to a set of 57 criteria and 10 principles that ensure an eco-friendly forestry true wood-grain product.

Can eco-friendly forestry exist? Yes.

Search for companies that selectively log particular trees and leave the rest of the forest untouched — this is logging without harming the entire ecosystem. Other eco-friendly logging companies replant trees to replace the number logged, sometimes replanting twice as many. You can also donate money to nonprofits that plant trees as a way to give back.

Take up woodworking and reuse wood

Why not DIY? This way you will ensure a sustainable product from start to finish and know exactly where your wood came from and how the product was made. Many art organizations and woodworking studios offer beginner classes with scholarships depending on your income level. Start with a bowl, book or small shelf and work your way up.

Search for FSC-certified logos on any wood that you purchase, and you can also reuse wood from building materials or a salvage shop. The Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great resource and way to ensure wood doesn’t get wasted. Rescue old furniture from a secondhand store and upcycle.

Focusing on reclaimed wood places a personal importance on conservation. Using reclaimed wood decreases the demand for newly harvested virgin wood from forests, and it takes 11 to 14 times more energy to produce virgin lumber over sourcing reclaimed wood. Wood may be reclaimed from wine casts, pallets, stock farms, old barns, factories and warehouses. Turn to your neighbors, and get together to share resources, tools and labor.

Imagine how much wood is left over after buildings are demolished and what happens to it. How much gets reused? There are many older buildings that investors don’t want to invest in, and their gorgeous architectural designs are lost.

Reclaimed wood conserves a piece of history, reduces waste and offers a timeless look to your home. Get involved in the production of your furniture by taking woodworking classes.

Purchasing FSC-certified wood ensures that the felling and processing of trees used in the creation of your furniture have minimal environmental impact. Eco-friendly forestry is possible.

Don’t ban wood-grain furniture from your home just yet. Take time to research FSC-certified products and learn about woodworking. Upcycle old loved pieces or reclaimed wood from your area. Your furniture will have its own story and last a lifetime.


This is a guest post written by Emily Folk.
Emily is a conservation and sustainability writer.
She is the editor of Conservation Folks, and you can see her latest updates by following her on Twitter.