Green living: Save Our Earth By Living Green

Green sofa choices

Looking around at a furniture sale, you might be wondering what the best green option is. Sometimes it can be difficult to buy green without spending a lot more money – especially with the amount of cheap furniture around that is manufactured using new woods. The good news is that a lot of the wood used for sofas and chairs today is responsibly forested wood – and that for every tree felled, another two are planted.

However, the cushions on an average fabric sofa for sale today have a bit of catching up to do on the environmentally-friendly front. Pretty much any sofa you think about buying will have one of the following three options under the fabric covering.

Polyurethane foam

This is the most common material for sofa cushions. It’s comfortable and long lasting – the cushions made out of it can last for a number of years without going saggy in the middle. However, as it is petrol-based, it is highly flammable, and anyone with a dust allergy will be able to confirm that the dust from polyurethane foam is irritable to the eyes and airways. It has lots of flame retardants added to it because of its flammable nature and these contain chemicals like polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE), which also pose health risks.

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Soy foam

A far better green choice is the sofa cushion produced with a blend of polyurethane and soy-based foam. Soy foam is a more natural and healthier choice, but unfortunately has a pretty strong odour that manufacturers haven’t quite worked out how to neutralise yet. Hence the reason for blending it with polyurethane rather using pure soy foam. Still, it’s a step in the right direction, and one can only assume they will soon find a way of dealing with the smell!

Natural latex foam

The best environmental choice for sofa cushion filling is natural latex foam. This is sourced from rubber trees, and has the advantage of being mould and mildew resistant as well as repelling dust mites, so it’s great for allergy sufferers. Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive material for sofa filling, so in order to make the greenest choice, you’ll have to dig deeper into your pockets!

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