Much like the fashion industry, furniture is becoming a throw away commodity. For a while now I’ve been looking for an alternative to polyurethane foam as I was aware that this is the worst offending component in my furniture. Just to give you an over view I’ve highlighted below why it is so bad for us and our environment:
– Foam is a derivative of petroleum, a non renewable resource.
– Foam can’t be fully recycled and doesn’t decompose.
– Foam is highly flammable. As if that wasn’t bad enough, in order to make sure that foam passes fire regulations it has to be treated with a lot of harmful chemicals adding to the harm the foam product does to the environment.
– Foam breaks down over time. In fact, it starts breaking down from the moment you start sitting on it. It will eventually crumble into a dust that is full or harmful chemicals.
So what is the alternative?
I’ve done a fair bit of research and the best viable product for my business is rubberised hair (pictured right). It’s a natural material made from animal hair, coir and natural latex. Here are a few of the benefits:
– Curled animal hair has been used in upholstery for hundreds of years. It’s a natural, durable and long lasting material. I’ve struggled to find any information on whether or not the curled hair manufactured in the UK is a by product of another industry such as food or leather. Experts please get in touch!
– Coir is a material process from the natural husk of coconuts, it is sustainable, economic and has a low decomposition rate.
– Natural rubber is a regenerative natural resource free of solvents, CFC’s and cancer causing substances.
– It has a vastly smaller energy consumption in manufacture, compared to synthetic latex.
– Natural rubber is harvested by hand, is ecological, sustainable and breathable due to the millions of little air chambers.