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The True Cost of Fast Furniture: Environmental, Social, and Ethical Implications

The True Cost of Fast Furniture: Environmental, Social, and Ethical Implications

Fast Furniture Impact on the Environment


Fast furniture, like fast fashion, is growing rapidly as more people demand goods at low prices to keep up with current trends. Quick and convenient is the preferred way to go in all aspects of life, and it’s only natural that people want to furnish their home with stylish pieces with a low price tag.


People aren’t considering the impact of fast furniture on the environment and what it means for the future of earth as these “fast” trends come and go. This article dives into what fast furniture is and its environmental impacts. 


What is Fast Furniture?


Fast furniture is made quickly and intended to last through trends and not much longer than that. The entire process from design to manufacturing is marketed as easy and convenient, allowing consumers to save money on updating their home décor every few years or so. 


The Impacts of Fast Furniture on the Environment


Fast furniture is having a catastrophic impact on the environment. Although saving money on furniture can feel like a win, it certainly has a significant cost to the environment that more people should know to make a more sustainable and eco-friendly choice when furnishing their homes. Read on to learn of the impacts of fast furniture on the environment.


Landfills – Landfills throughout the United States took on over 12 billion tons of furniture in 2018, according to the EPA, with that number growing annually. With the consistent shift in trends, people often view cheap furniture as disposable rather than donating or properly disposing of it. The chemicals and mix of materials in the furniture make it nearly impossible to recycle in a facility. 


Cheap Labor – Many fast furniture companies outsource much of their furniture production to other countries where labor may be cheaper. The labor in countries like china or India comes at a high cost. Pollution and quality are unregulated, not to mention the conditions the workers, often children, have to work in. They work long hours for little pay.


Harmful Materials – The materials and chemicals used to produce fast furniture take a toll on the environment, such as dyes, leather tanning chemicals, adhesives, lacquers, and more. Furniture made from synthetic materials is made from fossil fuels which take a lot of energy and resources to extract and manufacture.


Deforestation – Fast furniture is one of the major contributors to deforestation, which is one of the leading contributors to climate change. The cheap wood for these companies is sourced from tropical areas of the world, disrupting eco-systems and tearing down trees needed to help combat global warming.


Carbon Footprint Impacts - The carbon footprint alone to produce these cheap furnishings is high with the increased energy plus the shipping and transport of materials between facilities. The material is sourced from different areas of the world, and the transportation of these items emits carbon into the atmosphere contributing to the harmful effects of global warming.


Reducing the negative impacts of fast furniture can be done simply by making smarter choices when choosing furniture for your home and avoiding fast furniture brands altogether. Know where your furniture is made, purchase second-hand furniture when you can, and fix what’s broken to make your furniture last longer. The more you hold on to your furniture and make it work for your space, the better the environmental impact.


At Comfy Living Chicago, we professionally deep clean high quality furniture pieces and sell them to provide buyers great products at great prices. Sometimes at the same price of a Amazon couch (that might break in few months), you can get a pre-owned West Elm couch!


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