Tag Archives: douglas fir

Industrial Fast Furniture

Industrial Style Dining Table

What is “fast furniture”?

Recent research shows that millenials prefer to spend their money on experiences rather than investing it back into anything but essentials for their homes; and other constraints can often mean that the money to invest in furniture is just not available.

Due to this, people are looking to mass-produced furniture that is first and foremost cheap and functional. If you are looking for a quick fix, fundamentally there is no problem with this. However, the furniture is not built to last. Cracking when being put together, and not withstanding day to day life (especially when there are children involved!) can mean replacing the furniture within two or three years – so altogether a false economy.

To produce furniture at this low cost, wood used is generally not from a sustainable source. Cheap imports from Russian and Eastern European forests are illegally logged meaning the devastation of natural fish and wildlife habitats, and the decline of many varieties of trees including oak, ash and birch. The demand for cheap, Chinese made furniture has started a cycle which is destroying the worlds forests and wildlife at an alarming rate. And surprisingly, a lot of furnitures big players are not impartial to this.

Another way of producing cheap furniture is to get it made by a cheap workforce. Vietnamese and Indian children are often employed on a mass scale to produce the parts for the desks and tables, while earning an absolute pittance. Cheap furniture equals child labour: a good reason to buy British.

Flatpacking the furniture also keeps the price down – it all allows for more economical logistics both from manufacturer to retailer, then from retailer to consumer. Ergo, it’s down to the consumer to put it together; loose dowells, missing screws (or the extra one at the end which causes panic over the one that you forgot) and maybe even divorce, flatpack furniture is by no means a happy experience.

I’m sure you think that the point of this blog post is me telling you to buy expensive furniture. It’s really not. The advice here is to find British made, sustainable goods that can be delivered to your door fully assembled if possible. And this doesn’t always have to be an expensive option. Just well made, good value and environmentally guilt free.

IronFire. Affordable, aspirational and non-divorce causing.

Sustainably IronFire

We know it’s a bit of a cliché and rolled out regularly, but at IronFire we really do believe in caring for the environment and leaving as small a carbon footprint as we possibly can. Many factors come into play when staying on the right side of the environment, and while all of our products are all designed and built in the United Kingdom thus reducing our carbon emissions, one of the most important things to us is the use of sustainable wood in our table tops.

We produce these using Douglas Fir; a strong, British grown tree that has come from a well-managed plantation. The growth of the trees is controlled to ensure minimal disruption to wildlife, and buying from a source like this means that many of the forests in the EU are growing as fast as they are being cut down.

Buying sustainable wood not only helps the environment for generations to come, but also means that you are not aiding the disruption of the forests abroad in places like Brazil. The logging in these countries can not only destroy the forest itself but also the habitats of the wildlife and the indigenous people who make it their home. Illegal wood trading can encourage human rights abuse and leave trees on the endangered list such as certain teaks and mahoganies.

Moving on from trees to something less green and woody, planned obsolescence is the manipulation of the production of an item to give it a limited lifespan. It therefore becomes broken or useless after a short period of time; the idea being that sales will be regenerated when purchasing the said item’s replacement.

The consumer trend for planned obsolescence has caused a rise in the dumping of unwanted, broken products as they break quickly so are replaced due to necessity, or upgraded to the latest model. How many people have a drawer full of old mobile phones or see fly-tipping increasing? I know in the rural area where I live it’s certainly causing a problem with old mattresses, chairs and other unwanted household items piling up on the roadside and in the woods.

While planned obsolescence has it’s place as a consumer model, it is also responsible for global warming and waste as products are mass produced and replaced. Therefore, the longevity of a product is also very relevant to it’s impact on the global environment as a whole.

So what should you look for if you want your furniture to be environmentally friendly? Sustainable wood from FSC approved sources; something that is made and distributed from the country that you live in; and a product that has been made with quality workmanship and materials to ensure that you will not be replacing it on a regular basis are all factors to be taking into consideration.

We like fresh air and we like trees. And we make our products with a craftsmanship that means that they will definitely last longer than your mobile phone! That’s how we strive to be more IronFire.

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