Shorter showers aren’t the only way to conserve natural resources at home. Every product you decorate with – from your pillows to the furniture to your floor – has some degree of impact on the natural environment. That means your purchase choices are important, but it’s not always obvious which products have been manufactured with the environment in mind. You might be overlooking environmentally friendly options that are a fantastic match for your home and your style. These three things can help you broaden your sustainable horizons as you search for the next item on your home wish list.
All-natural isn’t always more sustainable
Responsible manufacturers are tackling the environmental impacts of their businesses from every angle, including the materials they choose to use in their products. Remember that companies aren’t making that floor or this rug for one home – they’re working on a commercial scale. That means any natural materials they use – hardwood trees, marble, or granite, for instance – must be harvested at the same scale.
Many of Earth’s natural resources are finite, and even those that aren’t, like trees, can be harvested at unsustainable rates that harm the future of the species. And it all requires land to be used in specific ways, potentially stripping the land of other, very important uses – such as supporting animal species, storing carbon in the soil, and enabling food production.
Think of it this way. Let’s say you choose countertops that look just like marble, but they’re efficiently manufactured from durable yet light-weight high-pressure laminate made with recycled content. Or maybe you select luxury vinyl tile (LVT) floors that are indistinguishable from a gorgeous, rare wood grain. In both cases, you are removing the need to harvest less-abundant natural resources. LVT, for example, combines a highly abundant natural ingredient (limestone) with synthetic materials to create myriad long-lasting, highly durable, nature-inspired designs.
Transparency is a virtue
Leading companies never stop improving how they produce the items you love. They find new ways to keep people safe; reduce energy, water, and material waste; and proactively assess ingredients. But all these good things are happening in the background, out of sight as you walk the aisles of your favorite store or consult your designer.
Responsible manufacturers use a few different ways to provide you and your architect or designer with information about the environmental impacts of their products and manufacturing processes. Third-party certifications quickly let you know that a product has been verified to meet certain criteria. You may be familiar with certifications like ENERGY STAR® for energy efficiency, or maybe you’ve seen the FloorScore® Certification and Assure Certified™️ logos on flooring products you’re considering for your home.
You can also look to see if a manufacturer has shared an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for the product you’re interested in. An EPD lists product ingredients as well as environmental impacts that result from raw materials, manufacturing, and other aspects of the product’s life. Whether or not you (or your designer) choose to examine the details of the EPD, you can feel confident that a manufacturer that shares this documentation is serious about improving environmental impact.
Think long term
Whether it’s made from a synthetic material or a natural one, durability matters when it comes to making your home more environmentally friendly. The longer it lasts without losing its appeal means the less waste your home is going to produce over time. Responsibly made products are up to the challenge.
Mindful manufacturers think about how well their products will stand up to the stresses of everyday life for decades, and they create styles that will last just as long. When you read product reviews or explore a product website, keep an eye out for descriptions of durability and expected lifespan. Look on manufacturers’ websites to see if they tout long-lived products.
Then once you’ve installed that floor, settled into that sofa or hung the new bathroom shelf that comes from a responsible manufacturer, you can feel good knowing it will look great for years to come.
Sustainability comes in many styles
Now you know that natural isn’t the only eco-friendly option, and you can look for third-party certifications and EPDs as telltale signs that a manufacturer is paying attention to their environmental impact. Sustainability doesn’t need to limit your imagination – there are many mindfully made products to help you bring beauty and sustainability into your home.
Learn more about the mindful manufacturing benefits of resilient flooring. This product category conserves natural resources while channeling the beauty of nature into highly durable floors with easy-to-find Environmental Product Declarations and other third-party certifications.