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Green Materials For Your Home

Photo Green Home

These green materials conserve resources and cut down on waste while adding chic, earthy style to any room.

In this article:
Bamboo
Cork
Felt
Reclaimed wood
Recycled plastics, paper, metals and glass

Bamboo

Where it comes from:

Found throughout Asia, Moso bamboo (used for furniture, flooring and accessories) is not a tree but a fast-growing grass species that can reach heights of 60 feet.

Why it’s green:

  • Well-managed bamboo crops take just a few years to re-grow. 
  • Bamboo is harvested in 3-6 years compared to 15-20 years like most hardwood.
  • It's biodegradable.

What to look for:

Many bamboo products use toxic formaldehyde adhesive so check for a low emission rate of 0.3 ppm or less.

Cork

Where it comes from:

Cork is harvested from the bark of cork oak trees in China and Mediterranean countries, with Portugal producing 50% of the world's supply.

Why it’s green:

  • Cork is renewable. Harvested from mature trees over a 9-year cycle, the bark regenerates while the tree continues to thrive.
  • None of the harvested bark goes to waste.
  • It's recyclable.
  • Cork can be grown without the need for harmful herbicides or fertilizers and requires little water.

What to look for:

Choose high-quality cork products which use non-toxic coatings and adhesives and contain all-natural protein binders.

Felt

Where it comes from:

Felt used for home accessories is usally scrap carpet underlay. It can be made of 100% wool or wool blended with synthetic or natural fibres.

Why it’s green:

  • Natural felt is made of wool, a renewable animal product.
  • It makes use of waste material, keeping it out of landfills.
  • It's biodegradable.

What to look for:

Not all felt is eco-friendly. Avoid felt that's been bleached or heavily dyed, especially if it's made with polyester.

Reclaimed wood

Where it comes from:

Salvaged wood is recovered from old buildings, factory scrap piles, lakes and rivers.

Why it’s green:

  • It reduces our reliance on standing forests.
  • It keeps waste from landfills.

What to look for:

Careless removal of logs from rivers and lakes can harm ecosystems. Certifiers like SmartWood identify wood that has been recovered using eco-friendly practices.

Recycled plastics, paper, metals and glass

Where it comes from:

Industrial scrap or consumer recyclables.

Why it’s green:

  • Recycled products make use of waste materials.
  • They keep waste from landfills.

What to look for:

Shop around for products with a high percentage of recycled or post-consumer content.

 

Photographer: 

Luis Albuquerque

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