One of our most pressing environmental issues we face today is the amount of waste and nonbiodegradable materials we’ve accumulated in landfills all over the world. As a result, the term “fast fashion” has become more of a household name, with many fashion brands and designers alike making strides to address the impact their industry and processes have on the plant as a whole. Nevertheless, despite the fact that the EPA has estimated nearly nine tons of furniture are tossed into landfills every year (roughly 5% of the total amount of waste in these landfills), fewer people are talking about “fast furniture” waste, and the steps we can take to avoid it.

Here are some of the ways we steer clear of “fast furniture” at Urban Natural, while still ensuring you’re still getting the very best comfort and style for your home and wallet:

Focus on high-quality materials that last.

During the pandemic, more price-competitive furniture companies like Ikea and Wayfair saw huge increases in their business. For some, this was due in large part to supply chain challenges that resulted in longer than usual delays to receive products, but for many others, the decision to buy “faster” furniture was a simple effect of spending more time at home than usual. Our homes suddenly became our office spaces as well, which made us feel more inclined to quickly redesign the layouts of our spaces in order to accommodate the change. The problem, however, is that this “faster furniture” is simply not built to last. Many, in fact, aren’t designed to last more than 5 years! One of the best ways to know if a piece has what it takes to stand the test of time is to look at the kinds and quality of materials it’s made of. When you focus on natural solid hardwoods, steel, and organic fabrics and cushioning, you’re more likely to get a lasting addition to your home design, instead of something you’ll need to replace in a few years. Cheaper materials also tend to be tougher to repair, which in turn, lands them in the trash more often than solid hardwood furniture.

Support local, sustainably-minded manufacturers.

Another way we avoid the waste of “fast furniture” is to look at where a piece was made, and what the manufacturer is doing to reduce their own production waste. Was the furniture made locally, for example, as opposed to overseas where the additional cost of shipping and logistics often leads companies to craft their products as cheaply as possible? In addition, if a piece of furniture is manufactured closer to home, it reduces the environmental impact that can result from long distance transportation of materials and finished products. Many of our own workshop partners operate and manufacture locally in the United States, and take great care to provide transparency about their processes for anyone interested in learning more about how the furniture is made, where the materials come from, and what efforts the company is employing to increase their level of sustainability. These days, many businesses and brands are striving to be more transparent and eco-friendly about their operations, and you can support these businesses, and their efforts with your purchasing power. 

Invest in quality craftsmanship.

A common argument in support of “fast furniture” is its lower cost. However, when you consider the fact that most of these pieces will be damaged or too worn to use in only a few years, that cheaper price doesn’t actually add up to a wise investment at all. Why not spend your money on heirloom quality pieces that are crafted with care, and intentionally designed to withstand everyday wear and tear for decades to come? While the initial price tag may be higher, your long-term investment in quality is far greater, which also makes your purchase less likely to contribute to the excessive furniture waste in landfills today. Prioritizing thoughtful craftsmanship is also key to reducing the amount of toxic chemicals used in manufacturing, since handcrafted, sustainably-minded workshops pride themselves on using chemical-free, organic, and natural materials whenever possible.

Monterey Bedroom by Copeland

At Urban Natural, we know the value of partnering with the very best in high quality, thoughtful furniture manufacturing. Through extensive research, we ensure that each of our workshop partners adheres to at least three of our five core values: handcrafted, ethically-sourced, sustainable, organic, and made in the USA. In doing so, we know that the furniture they craft not only offers the best in modern style and comfort, but also the highest quality, safest pieces for our customers’ homes and for the environment we all share.

February 03, 2023 — Urban Natural Team

Our Values

The health of our customers, craftsmen, and the environment are integral to our company values. We carefully source the high-quality furniture you want, made with the safe and natural materials you deserve. All our Workshop Partners must meet at least three of our five values: Ethically Sourced; Handcrafted; Made with Organic Materials; Made Sustainably; Made in the USA.