Truly sustainable outdoor furniture is not science fiction
Sustainability is a bit like science fiction: It’s always about a future that is still far, far away. But this future is closer to our present than we would like. While science fiction is only interesting to a limited audience, sustainability concerns us. Unfortunately, there are always more urgent problems to be solved until the future suddenly arrives – just not “grandchild-friendly” anymore.
Is that what we want? Please answer this question for yourself at the end of our article. Then you will know how easy it can be to make a valuable contribution with the help of sustainable outdoor furniture. Because we show: We can get much closer to a grandchild-friendly future. We go into the tangible benefits of sustainable outdoor furniture, which benefits our conscience, and we’ll show you two ways to find sustainable outdoor furniture safely.
But first, we need to get to know the earth’s lungs a little better.
When asked about sustainable outdoor furniture, everyone always answers …
Wood is considered particularly sustainable – especially compared to plastic – because it grows back and is naturally degradable. Trees are also popular and a valuable and versatile resource. We need paper every day as writing material or for packaging and wood for all kinds of construction projects in everyday life. Wood is also indispensable as an outdoor furniture material for our natural oases of well-being. Wood is warm and makes outdoor furniture charmingly unique.
Teak wood is prevalent among the wood types, which scores well thanks to its enormous resistance to fungi, weathering, and flames. Due to its properties, the teak is considered the king of wood species. It is easy to care for and can remain outside permanently untreated, and easily last 50 years or more. Teak can even be further processed and recycled. Recycled teak strengthens the already unique character of the wood. The older the wood becomes, the more valuable is the contribution to environmental protection because the CO2 remains bound in the wood. The extremely robust teak seems to be ideal for sustainable outdoor furniture. And yet, appearances can be deceiving…
Wood – not material for sustainable outdoor furniture?
As the saying goes: We can’t see the forest for the trees. We all know the saying – and still, believe that we can appreciate our forests and what they mean to us. But is that true? Are we aware that forests produce vital oxygen? Do we know that rainforests store about half of the carbon on land? By cutting down or clearing these virgin forests, about one-fifth of greenhouse gases are “produced” – more than all road, water, and air traffic combined. Due to this impact on the rain forests, Brazil and Indonesia, for example, already follow the USA and China in generating greenhouse gases. What’s more, two-thirds of all land-dwelling plants and animals inhabit the world’s remaining virgin forests. Primeval forests are hard hit because wood is a popular and essential raw material.
Even teak wood, which comes from Southeast Asia, is not always unproblematic, and it requires a closer look. It is commonly grown on tropical timber plantations that require ample space, which can only be gained by clearing primeval forests. Unlike the species-rich rainforest, these managed plantations are monocultures that must be protected by pesticides and supported with fertilizers. These ecological conditions have a severe impact on the climate and local wildlife. Although wood is a renewable resource that can be recycled, the material also has its costs in forestry, especially for our environment.
So do we have to choose between sustainability and high-quality teak furniture?
Two ways to sustainable wooden outdoor furniture
There is a way out of the dilemma: seals of approval and certificates. If you want to buy sustainable teak outdoor furniture, you can’t avoid them. They stand for sustainably produced wood species.
The flagship of sustainable outdoor furniture: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
You have already seen the certificate from the FSC, the Forest Stewardship Council. There is a reason for that. No other certification is so widespread worldwide and highly regarded by environmental organizations. The Forest Steward Council is a non-governmental organization (NGO), standing for sustainable and responsible forestry from the tree to the end product and strict guidelines that combine the local population’s ecological aspects and social and economic aspects. In concrete terms, it means: Care is taken to ensure that only a limited number of trees are felled in specified periods and that systematic reforestation is carried out, so that flora and fauna in the rainforest have sufficient habitat available. Every wood product must meet all of the FSC criteria to earn the certificate. This offers you security when looking for sustainable furniture.
So if you want to buy high-quality and sustainable teak furniture, look for the FSC seal of approval. But there are other ways to play it safe regarding furniture sustainability.
Parlun guarantees sustainable outdoor furniture
An alternative to teak that is also attractive for the wallet is the Robinia, known as “false acacia.” It has properties comparable to teak, is weatherproof, and is easy to care for.
You are generally on the safe side with the tree species used by Parlun. Anyone who buys outdoor furniture made of acacia or oak knows that no deforestation was carried out in tropical rain forests. Practical: In this way, you also support local forestry.
But no matter which wood you choose, make sure that you use natural oils for sustainable care of the wooden furniture. Otherwise, you end up harming the environment – right in your garden.
Is only wooden outdoor furniture sustainable?
When it comes to sustainable outdoor furniture, wood is the first choice. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. An important factor of sustainability is the longevity of outdoor furniture. So the longer a piece of furniture serves, the more it protects the environment. Anyone who relies on high-quality outdoor furniture and does not necessarily replace the furniture every year makes a valuable contribution to climate protection even without wooden furniture. At least unnecessary manufacturing and transport costs are avoided.
Of course, recycling is not only relevant to wood. In addition to plastic outdoor furniture, aluminum furniture can also be recycled and reused. Both materials have already proven themselves as outdoor furniture, require little care, are very weather-resistant, and therefore last a long time.
However, an essential difference to furniture made of wood is the amount of energy required to produce it. This lowers the carbon footprint of plastic and aluminum somewhat. If you want to learn more, you can find an overview of the numerous advantages of aluminum, plastic, and teak (and many other common materials) in our extensive article on outdoor furniture materials.
Your benefit with sustainable outdoor furniture
It is a modern trend to make your garden more homely and comfortable. The leisure furniture market is booming. This is a chance to think about the future (even if you don’t like science fiction). Do you want to rely on durable and high-quality outdoor furniture that is visually appealing and at the same time makes a contribution to the environment? It pays off: the longer the outdoor furniture lasts, the more it pays off to buy it. You save money in the long term, and nature is happy with you.
PS: Speaking of grandchildren: It doesn’t matter whether it’s a garden table, garden bench, or garden chairs made of FSC teak: with the proper care, your environmentally-friendly furniture will last long enough to decorate your grandchildren’s garden someday.