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Fast Furniture Is Filling Landfills: Shop Sustainably

The mass-produced furniture that sold furiously during the pandemic could soon be clogging landfills.

According to the New York Times, consumers in the United States spent $4 billion more on desks, chairs and patio equipment in 2021 than they did in 2019. Environmentalists say that a lot of the products sold during the pandemic weren’t built to last.

Each year, Americans throw out more than 12 million tons of furniture, creating mountains of solid waste that have grown 450 percent since 1960, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

“If we want to consider our children and grandchildren, as well as the ecosystems that support us all, we need to be careful about how we are consuming anything and everything,” - Eloisa Alena Lewis, Corporate Environmental Consultant, Climate Scientist

How to Identify Fast Furniture
  • Poor quality materials

  • Most fast furniture relies on poorer-quality materials that are often plastic based. You can probably feel the difference.

  • Is that dresser solid wood or compressed particleboard with laminate?

  • Is it mass-produced?

  • Take a look at the construction; if you have to put it together yourself with an Allen wrench…pretty sure it’s fast furniture.

Pieces from Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel and Ethan Allen, vendors that have higher price points, use higher-quality materials and all have sustainability pledges. But environmentalists still consider them fast furniture because their pieces are mass-produced.

Where SHOULD You Shop?

Shopping for sustainable furniture doesn’t necessarily mean you need a big budget to play with. Consider antique, vintage, thrifted, slightly used, artisanal, and handmade options. Investing in quality secondhand pieces is a jumping off point for determining your style and curating a selection of more sustainable furnishings without such a hefty investment. Transform vintage finds with paint or refinish wood.

In the Baltimore are look for sustainable furniture here:

  • Great Finds & Design

  • Second Chance

  • Urban Interiors

  • Habitat for Humanity Restore

  • Cornerstone

Verified Online Sites Include

High-end purchases from a worldwide marketplace, that you can ensure are properly authenticated. The platform enables buyers to negotiate prices or make bids on auction items. They also allow shoppers to communicate with the sellers for additional product information, customization if applicable, and more.

An online marketplace for pre-owned furniture that is committed to great design, exceptional customer care, and a more sustainable planet.

The site started as a way to bring the traditional estate sale into the 21st century but has morphed into a resource that makes finding unique and rare items accessible no matter where you live, while still fostering the thrill of the win. Each item starts at $1, with bids building from there until the bidding period ends.

Sources: Better Homes & Gardens, New York Times


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