Looking to invest in some new furniture piece? We speak to Pristine Lampard, founder of sustainable homeware brand, Dalisay Collection, for her top tips on how to source eco-friendly furniture.
New apartment? Check. Homeware? Check. Now for the furniture…
If you’re hoping to deck out your home with long-lasting, responsibly and sustainably sourced furniture pieces, but not sure where to begin – you’re not alone. Whilst it’s easy to nip to IKEA and load a few flat packs into an oversized trolley, finding good quality, eco-friendly furniture is not always straightforward. From what to look out for when browsing to quick tips for identifying a legitimate seller, we went straight to the experts and spoke to Pristine Lampard, founder of Dalisay Collection, for the scoop on sourcing sustainably. Read on for five tips to take note of…
Tips for sourcing sustainable and eco-friendly furniture:
1. Look for natural, responsibly sourced materials.
When starting out in your search for sustainable and eco-friendly furniture, “look out for natural, responsibly sourced materials including recycled material and reclaimed wood, which have been repurposed into furniture designs.” advises Pristine. As a rule of thumb, “natural, solid wood in particular is easy to repurpose or repair, rather than using wood laminate or wood veneer. Materials like particleboard are typically not recyclable and do not biodegrade. Consider also where the materials come from, locally sourced materials can reduce the item’s overall carbon footprint on the planet.”
2. Strive for longevity in your furniture purchases.
There’s a time and place for IKEA, but if you’re setting up a more permanent home or know that you’re likely to ship furniture with you when you leave Hong Kong, invest in quality items that will last a lifetime. “Instead of purchasing fast furniture or following short term trends, opt for timeless designs and quality materials and craftsmanship so that pieces will last longer, this will subsequently reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills” says Pristine.
“4.17 million tonnes of municipal solid waste is added annually to Hong Kong landfills, this sadly includes furniture and home decor. Fast furniture is often made with particleboard and cheaper materials so while quality furniture may be more expensive, it also won’t need to be replaced as frequently, making it more cost-effective in the long run,” she continues.
3. Double check. Are products both eco-friendly and worker-friendly?
Sustainability doesn’t end at the material itself, “the concept of sustainable furniture includes responsible manufacturing and consideration for the workers who are making the furniture pieces, meaning fair pay and working conditions,” urges Pristine. “At Dalisay, we strive to provide our craftsmen (based in the Philippines) with meaningful and fairly compensated work, helping to preserve their trade and make real contributions to their livelihoods and communities.”
When you are purchasing furniture ask the following questions: How does the company treat their workers and the local communities? Where are the items made? “By giving sincere acknowledgement and compensation to workers, you can trust your purchases are also making a long lasting positive impact on local communities.”
4. Embrace a circular economy, such as ‘flexible ownership plans’.
When starting your search, look for companies that encourage “try before you buy” policies and flexible ownership plans that will allow you to get a feel for certain pieces without the initially daunting price tag. “At Dalisay, we offer flexible ownership plans ranging from three to 12 months,” states Pristine. These plans “enable you to test out handcrafted, designer furniture with low upfront costs. At the end of the plan, customers can choose to return the piece, extend the plan, try a new style or keep the furniture by paying the difference between the retail price and the rental amount they have paid to date,” she continues.
“Dalisay uses the principles of the circular economy to ensure that long lasting pieces of furniture are designed and crafted to be loved, refurbished, repaired and reused again and again. This deliberate emphasis on longevity not only serves its owners over the extensive lifespan of each piece, but it reduces furniture waste and promotes sustainability.”
5. Look out for recyclable packaging.
While it may seem like a small detail, companies that invest in the effort of using recyclable packaging are bound to extend their ethos and principles to other areas of their business too. Pristine suggests that when purchasing new items, simply ask companies if their packaging materials are recyclable.
“While it’s important to protect and properly package furniture and home decor, there are many eco-friendly alternatives to plastic, single-use bubble wrap.” In addition to avoiding plastic packaging, ask companies if they can remove and recycle packaging materials for you when they deliver your pieces, which should hopefully ensure that the packaging ends up in the right hands and is reused, rather than having to source this for yourself.
All images courtesy of Dalisay Collection