Study in Red and Chrome

Green living is all about minimizing our impact on the planet by making lots of small changes to our lifestyles. For those of use that try to be earth friendly in our actions, things like recycling and using reusable grocery bags have become green habits that we do as a matter of course. However, there are times when it’s not always obvious which is the greenest path to take. For instance, when it comes to furnishing your home, eco friendly furniture is still not widely available in stores and can be difficult to find. To help make your green shopping easier, here’s my guide to eco friendly bar stools.

To start, let’s look at some general points to consider, which apply when buying any “green” furniture. The materials a product is made from and how they are sourced is perhaps the most important consideration. For example, with regards to wooden furniture, the FSC logo is the eco symbol to look for. This certifies the wood is from a sustainably-managed source and not from old growth tropical forests or illegal logging. Items made from reclaimed wood are also good green choices.

The chemicals used in a lot of new wood furniture can off-gas and release toxic fumes into your home that can be harmful to health. So, also look for furniture with non-toxic, low VOC finishes. With regards to metal furniture, aluminum is considered a green option as it doesn’t off-gas and can be recycled.

Another factor to bear in mind is whether a manufacturer has a clear policy regarding social and environmental responsibility. Companies that make eco furniture tend to want to publicize their green credentials, so it’s fairly easy to see what steps they are taking to green their business practices. If in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask.

I’ve identified several bar stool manufacturers that are leading the way when it comes to environmentally friendly products. For example, Great American Bar Stools offers an eco friendly range of saddle seat bar stools, which are finished with non-toxic milk paint and water-based lacquer, and are made in the USA.

Knoll has a clearly defined sustainability statement and has demonstrated its commitment to the environment by producing a line of Greenguard certified bar stools, which are classed as low-emitting and therefore better for indoor air quality and health. The bar stools are made from 100% recyclable materials such as aluminum and beech wood.

The Italian furniture company Calligaris offers a range of designer bar stools. It places emphasis on the environmental sustainability of its raw materials, including FSC certified wood.

If you recycle your trash, it makes sense to buy bar stools made from recycled soft drink cans! Emeco uses a high percentage (70-80%) of recycled aluminum to make its bar stools.

Between them, these companies have produced a good selection of eco friendly bar stools to suit all tastes and budgets. It goes to show that, if you look, it’s entirely possible to find new furniture with a minimal environmental footprint.

Caroline Smith has written about green issues for a number of websites. She loves trying out green home decorating ideas and discovering new eco products. She features a number of green bar stools on her website Getbarstools.com.