“Eco-friendly,” “sustainable” and “green,” are terms we hear a lot these days. Even in residential interior design, sustainability is a burgeoning movement as more homeowners look to reduce their carbon footprint.
Prioritize Eco-Friendly Paint
Traditional paints that contain plastic create a plastic barrier on walls when applied, trapping air, which leads to mold and other problems. Eco-friendly paints should be breathable as a result of using only natural ingredients. Paints labeled ‘water-based’ might mean they’re watered down but still harmful to the environment. Ingredients like vinyl resins, synthetic dyes, petrochemicals derived from oil, acrylics, formaldehyde and ammonia can contribute to a variety of health issues. For a paint company to be truly eco-friendly, they should be able to provide evidence by telling you what ingredients they use.
Purchase Locally Sourced Goods
Look closely at the materials you are bringing into your home and avoid toxins often found in resin, glues, foam, polystyrene, synthetic latex and stains. If installing or redoing hardwood flooring, look for low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) stains. Purchasing wood certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) ensures the product has been sustainably sourced and supports the local economy.
Source your furnishings locally to cut down on fuel and labor costs associated with shipping your product. Check out local markets, antique shops and vintage stores where you never know what you may find. Plus, the thrill of the hunt makes great dinner conversation.
Support Marginalized Communities
While most of us have been taught to recycle, it’s important to think about circularity and buy products that close the loop. For instance, why buy a conventional rug pad from virgin and synthetic materials when you could buy one made from recycled felt and natural rubber? Reduce CO2 travel emissions. If you’re looking for something as generic and functional as a bookcase, why not add your city or country to your Google search and get something that’s traveled a lot less to get to you. Human well-being and environmental wellbeing are inextricably linked. Additionally, most people put a large value on the ethics that apply to humans behind the production. If you’re in the market for some new accessories and throw pillows, there’s a burgeoning market of products with fair-trade certifications and fair working condition certifications, and made by people in marginalized communities like BIPOC or women.