What To Look For When Shopping For A Sustainable Sofa – Tips, Tricks, & The Top Brands
It’s safe to say that, over the past few years, most people have spent more time at home – specifically on their sofas. A good couch is ideal for so many things, from watching your favorite show to having a Zoom meeting with your child’s teacher. But did you know that the average couch can contain flame retardants, toxins associated with polyurethane foam, and other harmful chemicals?
If you’re searching for furniture that won’t bring toxins into your home, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we’ll outline what to look out for when shopping sustainably and detail a few of the most sustainable brands we’ve come across. Then, we’ll get into a few of our favorite sustainable sofas so you can dive right into shopping!
What to Look for When Shopping Sustainably
- Made in the USA. Sofas manufactured on U.S. soil have a much lower carbon footprint – reducing the distance from the factory to your doorstep is key.
- Resale shops and donation programs. Instead of trashing returns or damaged items, some companies extend sofas’ lives by selling returned or slightly used items, often at a discounted rate.
- Recycled materials. Look out for sofas that leverage recycled and upcycled packaging and materials.
- Oeko-Tex certification. This is a fabric certification that ensures an upholstery has been tested and proven free of harmful levels of toxic substances.
- FSC certification. This certification is given to wood products sourced from responsibly managed forests to provide environmental, social, and economic benefits.
- Tree planting programs. Some sofa brands plant a tree every time they make a sofa. This step can offset the company’s negative environmental impacts.
- Fair Trade certification. Certified products are made according to Fairtrade International’s environmental, economic and social standards.
- GreenGuard Gold certification. These products have been tested and scientifically proven to emit a low amount of chemicals.
- CertiPUR-US® program. This certification indicates that foam materials are tested to meet standards for emissions, content, performance, and durability.
TSCA Title VI compliance. This program ensures that composite wood products are tested and proven to be formaldehyde-free.
Comparing Sustainability Across Furniture Brands
Our Favorite Sustainable Sofas
The Sofa by Floyd
Sustainability features at a glance:
- Made in the USA
- Full-cycle resale shop
- TSCA Title VI compliant
- CARB-2 certified
- Annual sustainability goals
First up is The Sofa by Floyd. This sofa is mostly made in the U.S., which reduces the amount of energy and resources used during construction. Floyd makes the sofa frame from either all-natural, top-grade birch plywood or radiata pine plywood. Both wood types are TSCA Title VI compliant and CARB-2 certified, which means they’re free of formaldehyde and other harmful toxins.
Within the past year, Floyd launched its Full Cycle resale shop that extends the life of Floyd’s products. Floyd has also started measuring and offsetting the carbon emissions from its transportation to reduce its carbon footprint. The brand also provides a guide to its customers on how to sell, donate, or recycle once they’re ready to dispose of their products, which is a unique and innovative way to support sustainable living. Floyd also releases an annual impact report that details the brand’s sustainability approaches for the year.
Floyd has the following additional sustainability goals it hopes to reach by 2025:
- Ensure 70% of materials come from either recycled or renewable sources
- Minimize packing materials and eliminate single-use plastics
- Use 100% FSC-certified wood across all products
- Measure, disclose, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions across supply chain
Our rating: 4/5 stars
The Bondi by Inside Weather
Sustainable features at a glance:
- Made in the U.S with domestically sourced materials
- Oeko-Tex certified
- Bluesign certified
- FSC certified
- TSCA Title VI compliant
- Sofas include upcycled materials
- Recycled packaging made of renewable materials
- National Forest Foundation partnership: One tree planted for every order placed
- One tree planted for every box shipped
- Resale shop
The Bondi Collection by Inside Weather is the most sustainably-made sofa. First off, it’s made in the U.S, which reduces the amount of energy used to ship the product. Inside Weather also uses recycled and upcycled materials, and it recycles excess from its wood sheets. In fact, according to Inside Weather’s website, some of its designs absorb this waste.
The boxes that Inside Weather uses to package its products are also made from upcycled, biodegradable materials. Inside Weather also says that every sofa it makes involves roughly 200 upcycled plastic bottles to create the foam used in the cushions.
The materials that Inside Weather uses in its products are also highly sustainable. The company uses eco-solvent wood finishes, and its foam and wood are domestically sourced. Inside Weather also uses renewable foam in its packaging, and its foam is the first-ever in the furniture industry to be made of sugar-based contents. The sofas’ pillows also do their part to save the planet – their synthetic down material is made of 100% recycled down alternatives.
Inside Weather’s made-to-order Bondi sofa is Oeko-Tex certified and Bluesign certified, both of which ensure that the Bondi is free of harmful toxins. For every order placed, Inside Weather also plants one tree via the National Forest Foundation. The company is TSCA Title VI Compliant too, meaning its products are free of formaldehyde. And finally, Inside Weather is FSC Certified, which means its wood materials come from responsibly managed forests.
Another sustainability point goes to Inside Weather for its QuickShip items, which reduce the amount of furniture that goes to landfills. Many companies dispose of returned items even if they are in good condition, but instead of tossing perfectly good products, Inside Weather puts them back up for sale at a discounted price to lower its carbon footprint.
Inside Weather’s website provides detail about sustainability in the descriptions of each product. But you already have plenty of detail from what we’ve written – we found Inside Weather to be the best option if you’re on the hunt for sustainable furniture.
The Ludlow by Maiden Home
Sustainability features at a glance:
- Renewable, soy-based foam
- CertiPUR-US® certified
- Sustainable forestry initiative
- GREENGUARD Gold certified
Maiden Home builds sofas through sustainable practices that keep toxins out of your home. All of its products are equally sustainable, and The Ludlow Collection is the most notable.
The Ludlow’s cushions, fabrics, and wood all include eco-friendly features. Its cushions are made with renewable, soy-based foam, and they’re CertiPUR-US® certified too. This means they’re free of formaldehyde, flame retardants, ozone depleters, and other hazardous toxins. All Ludlow fabrics are made without anti-fungal additives as well.
Maiden Home uses performance fabrics with Crypton® Home and Sunbrella, and GREENGUARD Gold Certified non-toxic treatments make the Ludlow stain-resistant. The wood in this sofa is responsibly sourced and meets Sustainable Forestry Initiative standards. Maiden Home also uses low-VOC, water-based glues and stains whenever possible.
While Maiden Home doesn’t seem to focus heavily on marketing itself as sustainable, the brand does a pretty good job at providing sustainable materials. If you’re looking for a chic traditional sofa, Maiden Home’s Ludlow won’t disappoint, though there may be slightly better options. Our topic pick remains the Bondi by Inside Weather.
Our rating: 4/5 stars
There are a variety of American furniture brands making high-quality products, all in our own backyard. Our recommendation is Inside Weather, as this brand offers some of the fastest shipping times alongside the most customization options so you can design your sofa exactly how you want. Plus, Inside Weather is also offering 20% off if you use the code SEMI-ANNUAL at checkout.
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