Now more than ever it’s easy to buy eco-friendly home decor to fill your interior spaces. From buying secondhand, to searching out sustainably sourced products, to shopping on websites entirely dedicated to earth friendly finds. There’s no reason not to buy green!
Secondhand stores are treasure troves of eco-friendly home decor. Why? Because buying something pre-loved means there’s no need to contribute to the production cycle required to make new items.New items mean sourcing and producing new materials. Then, shipping the materials, using the materials to manufacture the new product, packaging the new product and shipping it to the store. After, both the manufacturer and the buyer have waste to dispose of in the form of excess materials (manufacturer) and packaging (buyer). Now multiply this process by every single new item in every single store across the entire globe and *gulp*. No wonder the planet is on its way to being tapped out. Instead, try secondhand stores, thrift stores and antique malls. Also consider swapping decor and furniture with your friends and family members. Because sharing really is caring! For each other AND the planet.
Note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning if you click on a link and make a purchase a small percentage of the sale goes to yours truly. Please know that I only link to products that are good for the earth, good for the soul, or both!
Local Buy and Sells
Shopping (and selling) through a local buy and sell is kind of like swapping home decor items with friends and family members you haven’t met yet. No, you don’t have to become BFFs with the dude who sold you a coffee table made from a tree trunk out of the back of his truck. But why wouldn’t you! In all seriousness, the thing I love about buy and sells is that they bring back the often lost idea of community. Since most buy and sell sites are geared toward shopping for secondhand items within your community, sold directly by regular people just like you, it means person to person interaction – for better or worse. This reduces the need for shipping and the associated carbon emissions as well as packaging waste.
Moving on from my impassioned “buy secondhand” spiel, locally-owned shops are another great answer to buying eco-friendly home decor. While most of the items in these shops are going to be brand new, local shops are often more geared towards sustainable items in principle. Many of the local home decor shops in my town feature handmade items or items made out of recycled or natural materials. Plus, by participating in the shop local movement, you’re reducing your carbon footprint as it generally requires more energy (and produces more pollution) to ship items over longer distances. Also, spending your money at a local business means your money is more likely to stay within your community. However, because I’m someone who likes to look at arguments from various sides, I’ll add that some economists aren’t sold on the buy local movement and believe that purchasing less efficient local products over more efficient nonlocal products doesn’t make sense.
Large Home Stores
Thanks to the increasing popularity of green products, even big multi-national chain stores are starting to carry eco-friendly home decor. This could be anything from organic cotton sheets, to decorative bamboo bowls, to furniture made from chemical-free materials. Interestingly, one of the largest worldwide home stores is also surprisingly focused on sustainability. IKEA’s website notes the importance of the Swedish word Lagom in their philosophy. Lagom means “just the right amount,” which may seem a bit strange coming from a company most known for their mass-produced furniture and accessories. But it’s nice to hear that even massive multinationals are making changes. I was particularly impressed when I recently read a quote from an IKEA spokesperson: “We need to stop thinking outside of the box and start thinking in circles. Being circular means eliminating waste at every step of the way.” Now, I’m not saying to furnish your entire home with IKEA products. (I actually did that with my first apartment… so cliche.) But they do have eco-friendly products such as a rug made with leftover scraps from their bedlinen production.
Now this is where eco-friendly home decor really shines. Yes, you often have to have it shipped from afar. Yes, you’re sometimes buying from huge corporations instead of smaller, family-run businesses. But it’s all about balance. If you can’t find what you’re looking for secondhand or locally, then looking online is your next best option. There are a ton of eco-friendly home decor options on Amazon (such as this beautiful vase made from recycled Spanish glass). Plus, there are dedicated eco-friendly home decor sites like Vivaterra and Upper Earth. Lastly, my favourite online home decor shop is Etsy because – when you buy from one of its sellers – you are supporting a small business owner.
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Posted on June 18, 2018
Former architectural technologist. Current Treehugger.
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