Sustainable vs Fast Furniture

In our last blog, we shared our thoughts on the 2023 design trend of sustainable or eco-friendly furniture.

Perhaps you’re on the fence, still wondering if this trend is for you.  Maybe it’s the price point, or you too easily fall in love with the latest trends and enticing “cheaper” offers.

Below, we’ve outlined some reasons you should think twice before purchasing your next coffee table or tv-unit.  (…and why we believe Homewood is the best choice for you, the customer, AND the environment)

The rapid global rate of deforestation

Do you know how long it takes for climax trees in an indigenous sand forest to reach full maturity?

Sometimes over 500 years.

These life-sustaining forests are pillaged every day to meet global demand for building materials, fuel, agriculture and wood for furniture. When done sustainably using the correct certification, this can happen without irreversible damage to the environment. However, in poverty-stricken, third-world countries, the regulation and controls are just not in place, resulting in the loss of precious forests at a rapid rate.  

For example, let’s look at Zambia (which used to be one of our main sources of Rhodesian Teak and Kiaat).

Deforestation rates are significant in Zambia, with approximately 300,000 ha of forest cover lost per year (Source: https://www.cifor.org/publications/pdf_files/OccPapers/OP-113.pdf).  To put that in perspective – South Africa’s total forest coverage is 1.5 million ha. Zambia, therefore, loses 1/5 of SA’s total forest coverage annually – never to return.

The Homewood answer – Crafting sustainable made-to-last furniture solely manufactured with wood sourced from alien-invasive trees which clog up our natural waterways. These woods include Cottonwood, Red River Gum, Blackwood and Sugar Gum – resulting in superior-quality furniture while aiding the removal of harmful species.

“Cheap” furniture is not made to last

The majority of furniture found online or on shop floors is made to follow current trends, manufactured using machines and lower-cost materials with the goal. The goal? Sell sell sell.

Because most of this furniture is made with composite wood (chopped-up wood that is then glued together), these items are impossible to refurbish or repair and have a dramatically shorter life span, filling global landfills.  The cost of replacing these items every couple of years adds up quite dramatically, leaving the question of how affordable “cheap” furniture is, really.

Our Homewood answerHandcrafted furniture made with REAL, sustainably sourced wood crafted to live with you through all seasons of your life.  We’re so confident of the quality and durability of our pieces that we offer a trade-in programme, offering existing Homewood customers the option to trade in their pieces for credit towards new Homewood furniture. These trade-ins are refurbished and then sold to a new home. Find out more about the programme here.

An excess of production

As furniture trends have become more seasonal, brands are producing more and more to try to keep up. Most factories have been built to produce large quantities to make a profit. As a result, fast furniture brands make way more products than the demand, resulting in an extensive waste of resources.

Our Homewood answerEvery piece of furniture is made by hand on request. Our human-over-machine approach means nothing is wasted, with our offcuts even repurposed in our “smalls collection”. As a business, we are also currently exploring solar options, taking our production off the grid to reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact.

So, there are a couple of points to keep in mind next time you’re looking to refurbish your space.

We hope that we’ve managed to convince you that sustainable furniture is the way to go. If not, well, we’re glad you’re here and invite you to learn more about our Homewood products, values and people here.

Scroll to Top