Our Sustainable Aims

All about our renew, reuse and repair furniture.

 Here at Ironfire we champion making long lasting products which are also affordable and attractive.

Our simple belief is that you don’t have to be an eco warrior to make sound, sustainable products. We set out to make Ironfire furniture stronger and better. Responsible, sustainable, environmentally friendly items that properly maintained last for a long time. Most important though – our furniture should be simple to repair, replace parts on and to refresh and update. It should be also made from replaceable materials sourced as close as possible to where it gets used.

Making something once is surely the best and most simple route to less waste of natural materials. It’s not a perfect science though and we can always improve and don’t feel in any way that we have all the answers. We hand make Ironfire here in Wiltshire and any 3rd party manufacturing is done in the UK.

Our Sustainable Furniture Materials.

Our Wood – Our Douglas Fir is English and milled in a local timber yard. Our Oak is English rustic from the same local yard with lots of patterning and interesting natural marking. We only use renewable certified wood that is FSC accredited and we cut it and dry it to make sure it’s stable. Douglas Fir is possibly the best wood to use for outside in the UK as it is strong, stable, durable and has good insect resistant properties.

Our Steel – We only use galvanised steel that meets British Standard BS EN ISO 1461.   That means it will have the best protection against rust. We only deal with well established, reputable steel producers and merchants and order it cut to our specification. That reduces usage as well as making financial sense. Our metal components are all made on state of the art, energy efficient machines. All of our nuts and bolts  fixings are treated against rust.

Our Coatings – We use water based paints and try hard to avoid anything that contains Volatile Organic Compounds. The paints we use are Sourced in the UK but made in Italy. They provide a very high level of protection against fading and cracking outside. We have successfully put our finishes through independent testing to simulate over 6  years of use outside without substantial degradation and we are waiting for final confirmation of the same achievement for UV fading. All of our wood is primed, painted and lacquered dependent on the finish you choose. We use British architectural grade polyester Powder coatings to further protect and decorate our steel made to British Standards. We often use Fiddes Wax  which we choose because we are assured of its ingredients, quality and provenance.

Our Soft Materials – Material for our waterproof cushions is made especially for us in Holland by a family firm. We then heat seal it to avoid sewing which leaks. We use a filling that is made from spun recycled plastic bottles and is mould and fire resistant. We then fit a hydrophobic valve which allows the cushion to breathe but not let water through it. These we have made for us in China which is the only economic supply.

Our deliveries & packaging – Where viable we always deliver ourselves. This enables us to meet our customers, provide a high level of service and make sure they are happy. It also means that we can avoid disposable packaging. When we have to we try and recycle packaging delivered to us.

Our Spare parts  – We keep replacement parts for all of our products and design them so as to be easily changed. We also offer a service to rework surfaces if you want a change of decor. We are always available for advice and to support everything we make. We have been in business for 25 years.

As detailed we only use a couple of suppliers outside of the UK and only where the quality benefits  outweigh British materials.

Is Ironfire alone? – not at all – change is happening.

Every year, in the UK, we throw away over a million tons of electrical kit. The average  washing machine now apparently lasts under 7 years.  In a recent London scrapyard survey over 10% were under 5 years old. Irreparable devices are no good for our pockets or the environment! Looking at the news it’s easy to throw your hands up in despair. But there is plenty of good news out there that doesn’t get much attention!

My Granny reckons she had a twin-tub that lasted for decades. (Not entirely sure though about believing someone who has lost so many sure fire winning lottery tickets). Repairs are expensive and so people tend to scrap machines as soon as they show signs of wear.

5 years ago however Spain brought in a new law to ensure recycling of a proportion of electrical products. Renewing and upcycling are terms that until recently was indistinguishable from recycling. They now mean repurposed and repaired not broken down with individual parts recycled. This year, their aim is that 3% of large household appliances and 4% of IT equipment should be re-used. Their research has found that 25% of thrown away items are in fact repairable and suitable for re-use. That’s a lot of waste saved, as well as a lot of unnecessary money spent!

With this in mind, we need to do more about companies that insist on “fast” products? Their products are sometimes cheaper to buy but do not last for long. A similar problem is planned obsolescence – This is the manufacture of products with a limited lifespan that become off trend, unrepairable or useless within a short period. Mobile phones are a perfect example of this.

Soon more will achieved thanks to new European environment laws. Finally the EU will make manufacturers produce goods that last longer and are easier to repair.

Currently firms make limited parts available to repair electrical machinery. This really limits the life of these goods.
This will change and will allow local tradesmen to repair equipment. Whilst saving the you money and wastage this also brings cash into the local economy.

A BBC report says that “Over twenty years a long-lasting washing machine will emit 1.1 tonnes less CO2 than a short-lived model”

So, please always consider repairing an old machine. A new model might claim to be more efficient, day by day. But tha’ts only part of the picture. A trusty old machine will be kinder to the environment – as well as saving your money!

Backing all the above up, there is also the Restart project. A “people-powered project”, they “aim to fix our relationship with electronics”.

Don’t be afraid to let us know if you think that we are wrong either. We’d love to hear your views about our furniture and ethics. We’d also like to hear from companies who have the repair, re-use or recycle ethos. Or just who make long lasting products.