The New Green

The New Green

So many times, products are marketed as “green” because they use recyclable materials, are made of “all natural” products or are manufactured in green facilities, but do these practices really reduce our carbon footprint? In this article we take a look at the best practices for “new green” outdoor furniture companies and what you can look for when buying Earth-friendly furniture.

Companies like OW Lee take great care in reducing waste. This high speed computerized cutting machine uses software to calculate the best yield for the pattern.

ECO-FRIENDLY AND WALLET WISE

With respect for the natural resources used to design outdoor furniture, the “new green” manufacturers believe longevity is key.  “Throwaway furniture”, or items made of inferior materials that cannot stand up to the elements for more than a couple years, are certainly not Earth-friendly, no matter the green methods used in manufacturing. Instead, buy heirloom quality pieces meant to last decades as opposed to years.

Rather than using trendy recycled materials that may in fact add to the cost of an item, buy from a company that takes great care to avoid having too many materials to recycle. Through a number of green practices that lower waste the “new green” manufacturers save customers green at the same time.

DOMESTIC PRODUCTION

OW Lee uses a combination of centuries-old techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to product their furniture in the most efficient way possible.  

The “well to wheel” analysis applied by sustainability critics states that the cost of transportation of the product and materials used in manufacturing directly impacts the environment. Fuel, for example, is non-renewable, so avoiding the need to transport products from overseas is a major advantage for the environment.

The “new green” company sources material locally, so look out for proud Made in the USA labels when shopping for outdoor furniture.

SUSTAINABLE MATERIALS

How many resources go into making a single chair? This is an important question for shoppers looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Look out for products made smartly, employing a combination of hand-made techniques and state of the art equipment, to make the most of non-renewable resources.

EMPLOYEE PARTICIPATION 

In a “new green” company, sustainability is an integral part of a company’s culture. Recycling is deeply rooted in the minds of employees, as is reducing waste. Committees are formed to find new and better ways to use our resources in the most efficient way possible.

Committed to reducing its carbon footprint throughout its long history has served companies like OW Lee well. “We’re not only interested in how our furniture looks on the sales floor, but more importantly, how it endures for generations to come,” says the company’s Leisa Rogers McCollister. “These efforts are part of who we are and always have been.”

Employing green manufacturing practices isn’t always the most flashy, marketable process. Look for companies who’s product by nature is Earth-friendly, and avoid products who use green as a marketing gimmick. As Henry Ford once said, “Quality means doing it right when no one else is looking.”