Using sustainable materials for furniture, home décor, and other daily needs is one way to make how you live more environmentally friendly.
With growing environmental awareness comes greater demand for eco-friendly furniture. Spending on the global eco-friendly furniture market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate of 8.6%, from $3.26 billion in 2022 to $83.76 billion by 2030. That makes eco-friendly furniture one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide.
Installing sustainable kitchen cabinets is one of the best ways to embrace eco-friendly furnishings. Unlike traditional custom cabinets, they don’t contribute to deforestation and pollution. These custom cabinets are made with recycled and responsibly sourced materials. They also use energy-efficient production methods.
Let’s learn a bit more about sustainable kitchen cabinets and how they aid in the promising shift toward a greener future.
The Need for Sustainable Custom Cabinets
All choices have an impact on the environment. Even seemingly small decisions, like the choice to go with sustainable or recycled kitchen cabinets, can impact the environment.
1) Environmental Impact
Did you know traditional kitchen cabinets are made from virgin timber? Using virgin timber contributes to deforestation.
Between 2001 – 2020, the US lost more than 42.2Mha of forest cover, showing a 16% decline in tree coverage. In 2021 alone, approximately 2.06Mha of natural forest was lost. This includes 13.7kha tree cover loss due to commodity-driven deforestation.
Deforestation for wood harvesting leads to loss of biodiversity. It also disrupts ecosystems and contributes to climate change through increased carbon emissions. But a simple choice like recycled or sustainable kitchen cabinets can lessen the impact.
2) Unsustainable Manufacturing Processes
Traditional wood furniture manufacturing involves energy-intensive processes that emit greenhouse gasses and other waste. According to the EPA, many wood furniture manufacturing facilities are major sources of HAP emissions. Individual facilities can emit more than 23 Mg/yr or 25 tons/yr of organic HAP. It includes toluene, xylene, methanol, methyl ethyl ketone, methyl isobutyl ketone, glycol ethers, and formaldehyde.
These harmful chemicals pose health risks to workers and homeowners alike. But they also harm the environment. Additionally, transporting wooden logs to manufacturing plants and the final products to showrooms and customers contributes to carbon fuel emissions.
3) Fighting the Climate Change
As individuals, we each have the power to affect the environment. Choosing eco-friendly kitchen cabinets or recycled cabinets is one way to pitch in and help reduce carbon emissions and conserve natural resources.
Exploring Sustainable Materials and Construction Methods
Fortunately, there is no shortage of sustainable materials and construction methods. You can get high-quality, sustainable cabinetry with excellent aesthetics. Here are a few options you can explore.
1) Sustainable Wood Options
Sustainably sourced wood minimizes the impact of deforestation on wildlife and surrounding communities. The US Lacey Act, expanded in 2008, bans the trade of illegally sourced wood products. It requires importers and manufacturers to declare the country of origin, species, volume, and value. Be sure to purchase certified and sustainable materials for cabinet making.
Alternatively, you can use reclaimed or salvaged wood for cabinet making. Doing so reduces demand for new resources and minimizes environmental impact. Besides their positive environmental impact, the warmth and character of sustainable wood recycled kitchen cabinets can offer a unique aesthetic appeal for your next kitchen remodel.
2) Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds) Finishes
Exposure to VOC vapors can cause a variety of health effects, including eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches and loss of coordination, and nausea. It can also cause damage to the liver, kidneys, or central nervous system. Some VOCs are suspected or proven carcinogens.
Fortunately, you can find low VOC kitchen cabinets or zero-VOC alternatives. These finishes will help improve indoor air quality, not to mention offer equally stunning and sophisticated finishes.
3) Recycled and Upcycled Materials
Usingrecycled and upcycled materials for cabinet making can unlock ae world of creativity. This innovative approach can help breathe new life into discarded items.
From upcycled wooden items to repurposed metal objects, you can get as creative as you want. Besides being a sustainable cabinetry choice, this option is also cost-effective.
Sustainable Manufacturing and Design Practices
As you may already know, sustainable and energy-efficient production facilities are transforming the custom cabinet industry. Here’s what you can do as a homeowner to help.
1) Energy-Efficient Production Facilities
Many manufacturers are now adopting eco-conscious manufacturing practices. They are engaged in efforts such as using renewable energy sources, reducing waste production, and using low or zero-VOC finishes.
Choose to support kitchen cabinet brands that prioritize environmental protection. Buying cabinets from these manufacturers is a great way to reflect your commitment to a sustainable world.
2) Design for Durability and Longevity
Another way to go green is to reduce waste by investing in kitchen cabinets that prioritize durability. Well-made, durable cabinets help reduce the need for frequent replacements, which minimizes waste and conserves valuable resources.
Working with a quality cabinetmaker like Holland’s Custom Cabinets ensures your sustainable cabinets can withstand the test of time. Eventually, they can turn into cherished heirloom pieces passed down through generations. More importantly, embracing this mindset promotes a shift away from disposable consumer culture, which brings us to our next point.
3) Conscious Consumerism
Conscious consumerism can be a powerful force for positive change. The idea is to consume less and in a way that is as sustainable as possible. When choosing kitchen cabinets, this means considering the environmental impact of your choice. This means being more mindful of the materials used, the manufacturing processes employed, and the overall sustainability of the products.
When you make sustainable choices like eco-friendly kitchen cabinets, you become an ambassador for a greener planet. Small actions, when multiplied, can have a profound impact. Choosing sustainable kitchen cabinets is one way to lead by example and raise awareness that green living is accessible, affordable, and fulfilling.
Choosing sustainable or recycled kitchen cabinets is an excellent way to start your journey toward a more sustainable, greener future. You can choose from recycled or upcycled wood, responsibly sourced materials, and low or zero-VOC finishes. Choosing kitchen cabinet manufacturers who use sustainable manufacturing practices can also help.
Holland Custom Cabinets is happy to help you make a sustainable kitchen cabinet choice. Contact us to find out how we can help.