Urban Table Works builds distinctive, handcrafted, eco-safe furniture with a primary goal of being sustainable in our practice, but what does that really mean?
Eco-safe vs. eco-friendly, vs. green vs. sustainable vs. environmentally-safe
You want to be “green” and buy products that are “eco-safe” or “sustainable,” but how do you know what you’re really getting and what do these different phrases really mean? There really is no consensus on defining those terms and really no technical requirements to follow in order to use those phrases to describe a product or service. Being “green” is often easier said than done.
What is Sustainability
Definitions of sustainability vary but essentially being sustainable means meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Sustainability encompasses many different environmental/social issues including:
- resource conservation
- global warming
- indoor air quality
A Case for Sustainable Furniture
The concept of sustainability is one that can be applied to every human activity from building cities, to buildings, to furniture. Urban Table Works is committed to sustainability. We continually strive to minimize our impact on the environment, to keep it safe and healthy, and to use materials that do not deplete natural resources.
We also recognize that style, quality and price are three of the most important factors in choosing furniture and that for a lot of people, buying “green” furniture is at best a secondary consideration. Imagine you have two options. Both meet your style, quality and price expectations, but one is also green, eco-safe, sustainable, which would you choose?
Consider an Urban Table from Urban Table Works. Our tables are sustainably designed, distinctively sophisticated and individually handcrafted with time-tested technique, joinery and craftsmanship. They are built from solid eco-friendly materials that are sustainably harvested (no particle board or MDF). If you’re looking for an inexpensive disposable table to get you by for a few years, these aren’t them. Less quality tables are definitely available at a lower cost, but our handcrafted solid tables are built to last for years.
With most things, when it comes to quality, you get what you pay for. But when it comes to “green” you might be surprised to find out that being green doesn’t necessarily mean that is has cost more.
To this end, we specialize in furniture made from sustainably harvested bamboo. Bamboo is a rapid renewable resource. It grows up to a foot per day, can be harvested every 5 years as opposed to a traditional forest that can take generations to mature, and it regrows without being replanted. Bamboo has the tensile strength of hardwoods, is durable (similar in hardness to oak) and can be made (like traditional lumber) into beautiful furniture.
It is important to note that not all bamboo is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified. The FSC is the leading third party auditor to ensure that wood has been sustainably harvested in part by prohibiting land use conversion, prohibiting hazardous pesticides, and respecting the rights of indigenous peoples. Urban Table Works uses bamboo that is FSC certified.
Please inquire if you would like to visit about options other than bamboo. We also can use recycled or reclaimed materials such as pine barn boards or hardwoods such as walnut.
Low or No VOC Finishes
Sustainability is not only about the materials we use, but how we finish those materials as well. Indoor air quality can be compromised in part because of the finishes and glues used in furniture production. In fact indoor air quality typically contains a 2-5% higher concentration of VOCs (volatile organic compounds) compared to outdoor air.
Many stains and finishes have a high VOC content which has been shown to contribute to respiratory illness, cancer and other health issues. According to the SFC, 15-20 million people have asthma including 6.3 million children.
Because VOCs are harmful and because they take a year to off-gas from a product once dry, we offer formaldehyde-free, low, very low or no VOC water-based stains and finishes, that are eco-friendly and environmentally-safe.
For more information on VOCs visit United States Environmental Protection Agency.