Tag Archives: sustainable furniture

The Sustainable Market

industrial style dining table close up

Facebook images of rubbish being washed up on beaches, the banning of microbeads in cosmetic products on the news, the disappearance of plastic bags from supermarkets (leading to you taking your shopping to your car in a basket if you’re like me and forget your reusable bags)…the issues that the world has with regards to the rubbish that we create and how we deal with it is something that no-one can claim to be ignorant of.

Locally to us at IronFire, there was a recent meeting at Morrisons of local shoppers who all took back their plastic wrapping to the manager in the trolley load, and the pubs are no longer providing plastic straws, only paper ones. We are all taking notice – seeing rubbish on beaches at the weekends, it can’t be ignored – and the passion that some people and businesses are showing is in turn inspiring others. (Iceland are paving the way as they are aiming to be the first plastic free supermarket by 2023). Looking at your kitchen and bathroom shelves though, we seem inundated with plastic and throwaway materials and it can seem that there is no easy way to get around this. Well, look no further! Here we are with a short guide (we love a list) to some products that we have found online that can help you do your bit in keeping the planet plastic free…

  1. Waitrose have announced that they are going to stop providing paper cups for their free coffee, and many coffee shops will give you money off of your takeaway cappuccino if you take in your own reusable cup. KeepCup say that they are “there for the everyday changemakers” – a mantra which we love, after all if we can all make small changes then they will amount to a lot. Their reusable cups are made from tempered glass and they also manufacture a barista standard cup, all of which are available in multiple colours and sizes. Worth the investment if you frequently indulge in a takeaway coffee or can’t walk around Waitrose without a caffeine hit!
  2. Did you know that many teabags are made of plastic? As a tea-addict, my contribution to the plastic issue just from my habit has shocked me somewhat. The big players – PG Tips and Tetley – both contain plastic, but if you are looking to be more plastic free, then simply change your tea-bags over to Aldi, the Waitrose Duchy brand or Pukka tea (their peppermint and liquorice flavour is amazing). Alternatively, look at making your own teabags or using loose tea. You never know, it could always lead to a sideline in fortune telling!
  3. No one wants to be a bit smelly, even at the expense of the planet, but Salt of the Earth deodorants are on hand (or armpit) to tick both of these boxes. Designed to be not only sustainable in manufacture, packing and distribution, they are paraben free and perfect for people with sensitive skin. They also offer a massive refill bottle so that you don’t have to continually replace the original. What’s not to like!
  4. Lush shampoo bars seem to be a bit of a weird idea at first – who even uses soap apart from your nan?!? – but each of these bars are the equivalent of 3 x 250g bottles of shampoo. Saving you not only money but also keeping your plastic usage down massively, and your hair clean and full of bounce! The reviews are great, with people claiming never to go back to normal shampoo after using this product.
  5. Cling film. Plastic. But without it you end up with pockets and a handbag full of crumbs and bits of lettuce. Not an endearing lunch for even the hungriest of people. So here’s the alternative – beeswax wraps. Made in Stroud from cotton with pine resin and local beeswax to help them ‘cling’, these wraps do seem like a costly investment at first but can be reused for a year simply with by washing with water and soap. And once they have been used to their maximum, they can be thrown on your compost heap as are fully biodegradable. Fresh food and a crumb free bottom to your handbag, all guilt free!
  6. As it is just thrown down the toilet, loo roll may not be at the forefront of your mind when thinking about living sustainably apart from buying the recycled version in the supermarket. However, they come in plastic packaging, and the roll in the middle needs to be recycled (or made into Jesus and Mary and various others who you are NOT ALLOWED TO THROW AWAY EVER). Who Gives a Crap manufactures toilet paper that is made from recycled paper and books, comes in a recyclable cardboard box and is fully biodegradable as well as being ok for septic tanks (not sceptic tanks – definitely no doubt). Not only this, but they give 50% of all of their profits to help build toilets in third world countries. No bum deal here.
  7. Ecover are launching a clean world revolution, and want us to join! Abandon your Mr Muscle and enter the realms of eco-friendly cleaning right here. An eco-sound factory, all products made from plant-derived materials (no nasty chemicals) which include no phosphates which inevitably end up back in our water, and a war on single use plastic all mean that Ecover are maintaining their lead as one of the most popular and effective cleaning solutions for planet aware cleaners. A recent study showed that inhaling the chemicals from kitchen and bathroom cleaners can be as bad for your lungs as smoking 20 cigarettes a day, so while it may not be fun to be scrubbing bathroom dirt away, you can at least make it healthier both for yourself and the planet.
  8. The Natural Bed Company make all of their beds from wood that has come from sustainable forests and never from endangered tropical sources. All made in the UK, they share our passion for not using the fast wood that has been used in the construction of cheap furniture from China and the suchlike. Not only beds though, they also offer fully organic bedding for a bedtime experience that is just dreamy!
  9. Last but by no means least, IronFire Industrial Furniture (I’m not going to miss us out now am I!) have a range of industrial style furniture that is only available online. Our products are made by British craftsmen using sustainably sourced products; keeping the forests healthy and our time on the roads shorter. Sustainable and a bit stunning!

True, all of these solutions may not be suitable for everyone but if we all just make little changes to our everyday habits this may make our beaches, air and water cleaner for that bit longer for the generations to come.

Buying Furniture for Your New Home? What to Avoid and Money-Saving Tips

Exciting news we have a guest blogger – Maria Jose is a Marketing Specialist and does Content Marketing at Porch.  She is passionate about animals and her hobbies are reading, writing, traveling and music.  She shares with us some handy tips on the particle ways of buying furniture for your home and shows that you can produce sustainable furniture.

If you’re gearing up to move into a new home, there are probably a ton of things to take care of on your to-do list. Buying furniture is one of the most important and biggest investments you’ll make, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you choose the right pieces at the right price. There’s a lot to consider when you’re furnishing a new house, from the dimensions to the durability and much more. Check out this guide featuring some advice on what to avoid, along with actionable, helpful tips to make your next furniture buying adventure easy and, most importantly, affordable.

Modern Living room design image
Modern Living room design image

If you’re gearing up to move into a new home, there are probably a ton of things to take care of on your to-do list. Buying furniture is one of the most important and biggest investments you’ll make, so it’s always a good idea to make sure you choose the right pieces at the right price. There’s a lot to consider when you’re furnishing a new house, from the dimensions to the durability and much more. Check out this guide featuring some advice on what to avoid, along with actionable, helpful tips to make your next furniture buying adventure easy and, most importantly, affordable.

10 Important Things to Avoid When Buying Furniture 

White room with doors image
White room with doors image

There are some common furniture buying mistakes that people make, which often leads to buyer’s remorse. Here are the 10 most important things to avoid when buying furniture for your new home, along with some suggestions.

Not measuring: Measuring your space before you buy any new furniture is absolutely crucial. If you don’t measure, your furniture might not fit through the door, or it won’t fit properly in the room. Record the dimensions of every room of your home, noting the length and width in feet. You should also draw a basic layout on paper to help you choose the right size furniture for every space. A sectional won’t fit correctly if you have a small living room, for example. Measuring furniture includes checking the length, width, depth, and height of every piece. This will ensure that every item you buy fits nicely in its designated spot.

Painting first: You might be tempted to paint your new home before you buy new furniture. However, it’s much easier to purchase furniture based on the colors in the room after it’s already there. Go ahead and furnish the rooms in your home, then choose a beautiful paint color to match so everything coordinates nicely for a cohesive look.

Not scaling: Proper scale and proportion are key to a functional space. Make sure your new furniture works well in the room and doesn’t overcrowd it. If the furniture is too large in proportion to the size of the room, everything will feel cramped. If it’s too small, the room will feel hollow and empty. Choose everything in tandem so that every item works well with the other to create a correctly scaled space

Not considering your lifestyle: If you have children or pets, you need to select furniture that fits your lifestyle. Choose upholstered pieces that are easy to clean and maintain if you have a lot of foot traffic and a large family. Having beautiful furniture in your new home is important, but it won’t do any good if it isn’t functional too. Look at each item and think about how it will fit your lifestyle before you purchase.

Stool with a cat image
Stool with a cat image

Being unrealistic about maintenance: All furniture undergoes regular wear and tear, but some materials are easier to maintain than others. Always make sure that your new furniture can be cleaned easily and that it’s not too difficult to repair if something ever gets broken. Search for furniture that’s easy to care for, so you’re not spending all of your time worrying about maintaining it or keeping it clean. Stock up on products to help you maintain it, like wood furniture polishes and waxes, leather conditioners, and a quality vacuum cleaner to get rid of crumbs between sofa cushions.

Buying everything at once: Buying furniture is exciting, so it’s easy to feel like you need to buy everything at once. Furnishing an entire room or even your entire home all at one time could lead to buyer’s remorse later. Focus on the most important pieces first, like the bed for your bedroom, the dining table for your dining room, and the sofa for your living room. You can always add new items to go with it later once you determine which styles, sizes, and designs will work best in each room and for your specific lifestyle.

Getting into an “impulse buy”: Don’t get lured into furniture trends and make an impulse purchase that you’ll regret later. Take your time and research furniture, looking carefully at things like customer reviews and examples of furniture in different homes. When you take your time buying furniture, you’ll be much happier with the outcome.

Prioritizing style over comfort: A beautiful home filled with stylish furniture is important, but your comfort is more important. Don’t sacrifice your comfort just to give your home a stylish look. If your new furniture is uncomfortable, you’ve essentially wasted your hard-earned money. Try to find pieces that meet somewhere in the middle, blending beautiful design with supportive and comfortable features.

Sacrificing quality for price: Saving money on furniture is always a good thing, but you shouldn’t skimp on quality. Look for great deals on furniture that will still provide you with a quality piece you’ll use for years to come. Remember that new furniture at an extremely low price usually means that it’s made of low-quality materials, and it might not hold up to a lot of wear and tear.

Overfilling the room: If you buy too many furniture pieces, it can make the rooms in your home feel cramped and overcrowded. Adding too much furniture will end up making your home feel cluttered, which can lead to higher stress levels. Try to stick with the basics first, then add accent pieces as needed.

How to save money when buying furniture

Saving money on furniture is easy when you keep these helpful tips in mind.

Plant pot full of money and a plant growing pot
Plant pot full of money and a plant growing pot

Shop Online: Shopping online is one of the easiest, most effective ways to save money on everything from furniture to décor and more. Look for websites that offer free shipping to save even more. Before you click the “purchase” button, make sure you read the customer reviews thoroughly to ensure that you’re getting a good deal and a quality item.

Garage Sale: Scour local garage sales to find decent quality furniture. In many cases, homeowners simply need to downsize, or they don’t want to take perfectly good furniture with them for a move. You can always negotiate with the seller to bring the price down even lower, too.

Buying antique furniture: Not all antique furniture costs an arm and a leg. Shop at some local consignment stores to score a good deal on beautiful antiques. The perk of buying antique furniture is that it’s typically made of durable materials, and it’s built to last, so you’re getting more out of your investment.

Repurpose and recycle: You don’t have to buy every single thing brand-new for your home. In fact, some of your furniture can easily be repurposed or recycled. An older coffee table can look new again with a fresh coat of chalk paint. Go through the items you already own to see how many of them can be repurposed or reused in other rooms or for different reasons.

Refurbish: Refurbished furniture can look just as beautiful and last just as long as new furniture. Switch out hardware, add a fresh coat of paint or finish, or reinforce furniture to make it stronger. Simple changes to existing furniture can make it look brand-new and give it a new purpose without breaking your budget.

Upcycle: Upcycling furniture is similar to refurbishing, and it involves adding your own personal touch to each piece. You can make any piece of furniture look brand-new with some simple changes like painting it, adding new hardware, or taking it apart and rebuilding it to turn it into something new.

DIY: If you’re handy with a hammer and nails, don’t be afraid to try your hand at some DIY furniture. Building your own furniture creates feelings of pride and a sense of satisfaction. It’s also an excellent way to save money on new items like tables or chairs.

Get sales alerts: Sign up for sales alerts from some of your favorite furniture stores. Many retailers offer deep discounts at various times of the year, which means you could save a lot of cash if you’re patient.

Time your shopping: Many local furniture salespeople have quotas and work on commission, which means they might be willing to offer you a deal at certain times of the month. Ask if they can provide you with a deal or throw in free delivery to help you save a bit of extra money.

How to care for and maintain your furniture

Lady sat on sofa, exhausted from hoovering image
Lady sat on sofa, exhausted from hoovering image

With so many furniture styles and options to choose from, it’s important to maintain and care for each item to keep it in good condition. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when it comes to furniture maintenance.


  • Remove dirt, dust, and debris from wood furniture, often using a soft, damp cloth or paper towel.
  • Take care of wood furniture by polishing it regularly and using a gentle, silicone-free furniture cleaning product.
  • Repair scratches as soon as possible, using a furniture touch-up pen that matches the finish.
  • Keep furniture out of direct sunlight, especially leather and wood, which can become discolored and dry out over time.
  • Only use cleaning products made for your furniture’s specific material to avoid damage.
  • Wipe spills immediately whenever liquid comes in contact with your furniture.
  • Rotate or flip seat cushions every few months to keep them comfortable and looking new.


  • Do not use an all-purpose cleaner, bleach, or abrasive cleaning products on your furniture.
  • Don’t put off dusting your furniture. Airborne particles can build up on wood, leaving a layer of dust and grime that may scratch the finish.
  • Never add a tablecloth to your tables until they’re completely dry.
  • Do not arrange your furniture near radiators, heat or air vents, and air conditioning units. Extreme temperature changes can easily damage furniture.
  • Don’t sit extremely hot or cold beverages or food directly on top of your furniture – use a coaster or protective cover like a tablecloth.
  • Avoid placing your furniture close to the fireplace or wood-burning stoves.

If you just got married, just became independent, just moved to college, or are just ready to start buying furniture for your new place, be sure to keep these helpful tips in mind. Remember to measure the rooms in your home as well as the dimensions of your new furniture to find a perfect fit. Choose furniture that fits your lifestyle, and shop garage sales and websites to help you find the best deal so you’ll have fabulous furniture the whole family will enjoy for years to come.


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Global Warming – an idiot’s guide

Beautiful Nature - mountains behind lake at sunset

At Ironfire we aim to make our industrial sustainable furniture ecologically friendly. It’s a challenge and I often struggle to know how to calculate our carbon footprint and our climate change impact. In fact now that I come to think about it, do I fully comprehend what are the definitions of global warming and the real climate change facts? Why it is such a looming disaster? Of course, like most people, I know the headline reasons. I also believe that so many eminent scientists can’t be wrong.

Most climate change explanations though head off into complex jargon that goes right over my head. So I thought that I would try and understand a bit more. At the same time, I would try and uncover documented facts and make them more accessible. I’m hoping for better understanding to help set the priorities at Ironfire.

I’ve found finding clearly expressed science time consuming but more straightforward than expected. Thinking, “there must be others like me” I am going to try and lay out my findings in a simple format. I’m not looking to patronise anyone and if you mutter ” we all know that” – Don’t waste your time – move on quickly!

I have put as many verifiable links as possible into the statements I discovered. I’ve numbered paragraphs for ease of reading and paraphrased to make it easier to read. My commentary is not bullet proof, just conclusions that I’ve arrived at trying to simplify wordy reports!

Greenhouse gas emissions & climate change – the size of the problem.

Giorgio Trovato Unsplash 690x788 1
Giorgio Trovato @ Unsplash

If you are partial to scary statistics try these facts about global warming. Man-made greenhouse gas emissions in 2018 equalled 36 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide. 72% was CO2 from coal burning and industry. 19% was Methane ( from livestock in most part), 6% was nitrous oxide, and 3% was fluorine gases. A further 4 billion tonnes of carbon emissions come from natural sources. The average contribution each human on the planet makes is 4.8 tonnes per year. The “Net zero” target (it’s hoped) will limit global warming to a manageable 1.5°C increase. To achieve that we need to reduce these Carbon emissions by half in the next decade. Moreover, we then need to hit those Net Zero emissions by 2050. This link provides a clear overview of what we need to achieve. https://www.wri.org/insights/net-zero-ghg-emissions-questions-answered

The main causes of industrial greenhouse gas emissions are as follows. Electricity & heat (25%), agriculture & forestry (24%), industry (21%), and transportation (14%).

Deforestation – climate change facts.

Image showing deforestation across pine trees
Roya Anne Miller @ Unsplash

It’s also estimated that deforestation causes 10% of global warming. The main reasons for deforestation are increasing use of land for beef and palm oil (27%). Wood and lumber products (26%). Short term agricultural cultivation (24%), and wildfires (23%).

To complete the picture, here are the figures for consumer emissions in 2010. Food (30%), washing/heating/lighting (26%), personal transport & freight (20%) and buildings (15%).

What greenhouse gases are

Ella Ivanescu Unsplash 690 Wide

1) The earth absorbs energy from the sun into our atmosphere. In turn it radiates infrared radiation back to outer space. These two effects balance out in nature to maintain our climate. This natural greenhouse effect means the earth’s temperature is about 30 degrees C.

The link here is about the best graphical explanation I’ve come across.

2) Natural greenhouse gas emissions enable life on earth to exist. They keep warmth necessary to sustain life in the atmosphere. Global warming is caused by extra, excess carbon chemicals remaining in the atmosphere. These carbon molecules absorb infrared rays. Excess heat can’t then radiate to outer space and so further warms up the earth’s atmosphere.

3) So global warming results if anything disturbs earth’s natural equilibrium. Some people call the balanced greenhouse effect Gaia – the spirit of earth!

4) Trace gas pollutants from carbon emissions can last for years and even centuries in the atmosphere. They trap heat and as discussed, cause the planet, by absorption, to get hotter, causing cliate change. That’s why it’s known as the greenhouse gas effect.


5) The trace gases that contribute most to climate change are water vapour and carbon dioxide. https://ukair.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat07/0710011214_ED48749_VOC_Incineration_-_CC_Report_v3.pdf

6) Water vapour makes up 60% of global warming. That’s far more than the carbon emissions we are putting into the atmosphere. That’s because water vapour in the air exists in direct relation to the temperature. So, the more you increase a temperature, the more water evaporates. This becomes vapour, and vice versa. So when something causes a temperature increase, such as CO2, more water evaporates. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas so extra vapor makes the temperature rise even further. https://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

7) To decrease global warming we need to reduce man made pollutants. Some of these gases are potent greenhouse contributors to climate change. They have been adding to the greenhouse effect from the time we started burning vast amounts of coal. This, as discussed, is increasing the amount of water vapour held in the atmosphere. For a simple demo of the acceleration of global warming, read this.

8) Hundreds of different trace gases have been measured in the atmosphere. It is believed that thousands more have yet to be measured. Many of these are volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Volatile means a compound may exist in the liquid or solid phase but easily evaporates. Organic means that the compound contains carbon.

What are VOCs -Volatile Organic compounds? Should we be concerned about them?

Voc Infographic 1

9) VOCs as trace gases often exist in tiny parts per million in the atmosphere. Yet they are important as many are long-lived in the atmosphere. Other important greenhouse gases are Carbon dioxide, Carbon monoxide, Methane and Water vapour. https://www.e-education.psu.edu/meteo300/node/607

10) There are varying definitions of VOCs around the world. The GWP (global warming potential) index is pretty easy to understand. It ranks VOCs as follows. “the GWP of a VOC measures its climate change impact compared to CO2. It also includes how long the trace gas remains in the atmosphere once emitted”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_potential

11) Volatile organic compounds are chemicals that have a low boiling point. If you’re interested in the science here we go. This low boil temperature is because they have a high vapour pressure. That causes a lot of molecules to evaporate from the liquid (or solid form of the compound) into the air around them. This effect is known as volatility. Formaldehyde for example evaporates from paints and coatings because it has a boiling point of only –19 °C.


12) VOCs are released from burning fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, or natural gas. They are also released from many consumer products. Cigarettes, solvents, paints & thinners, adhesives, dry cleaning fluids and glue & wood preservatives. Cleaners & disinfectants, air fresheners, building materials & furnishings, copiers & printers and pesticides are also examples. 

Steel, the extraction of iron ore and getting it to the furnace are resource heavy. Most VOCs emitted are however burnt off by high temperature in this process. Lots of VOCs therefore get emitted in the initial process of recycling scrap steel though. This is due to the processes involved in removing coatings and impurities. I suppose it all goes to emphasise that there isn’t such a thing as a free lunch. https://www.ubs.com/microsites/nobel-perspectives/en/latest-economic-questions/2020/solution-to-climate-change.html?campID=SEM-BRAND&s_kwcid=AL!602!3!445675510732!b!!g!!%2Bways%20%2Bto%20%2Bstop%20%2Bglobal%20%2Bwarming&ef_id=Cj0KCQjw6575BRCQARIsAMp-ksNNcquXbZFqqsVUQtIzMS1c1oi5OElYYCa8AMicyPBp77kOrAb0ojcaAmNiEALw_wcB:G:s&s_kwcid=AL!602!3!445675510732!b!!g!!%2Bways%20%2Bto%20%2Bstop%20%2Bglobal%20%2Bwarming!10436011345!1038

13) The earth emits about 1150 Teragrams of carbon VOCs every year. These occur naturally. By comparison, humans release 142 Teragrams as CO2 every year by breathing! When VOC’s combine with Nitrous Oxides in the air, they form Smog. This makes sense as urban areas have higher levels of VOC than open country.

14) VOCs include both human-made and natural chemical compounds. Most scents or odours are of VOCs. These compounds help communication between plants and form messages from plants to animals. Many natural VOCs are pretty benign, and humans have evolved to coexist with them. Vegetation is a major emitter of a VOC called Isoprene. Each year, 600 million metric tons of Isoprene enter the air. More than half of this comes from broad leaf trees. Small shrubs and bushes release much of the rest.

Without many of these VOCs, the world would be very different. Limonene, produces the citrusy odour of orange and lemon peels. A large percentage of essential oils are from these plants. Styrene, used to produce polystyrene, occurs in everything from coffee beans to peanuts. https://foobot.io/guides/natural-sources-of-volatile-organic-compounds.php

15) Some VOCs are dangerous to humans and cause environmental damage. Manmade VOCs are called Anthropogenic and are regulated by law, specially for indoors, where concentrations are highest. Harmful VOCs are not high in toxins but can cause long term health problems. Because individual amounts are low symptoms can develop over a longer period. This makes research into VOCs and their effects difficult. People who suffer from respiratory complaints can be susceptible to VOCs indoors.

Short-term exposure – effects from VOCs may cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat. Also, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders and memory problems are sometimes experienced.

Long-term exposure – VOC damage may cause nausea, fatigue, dizziness and impair co-ordination. There’s also the risk of Cancer and damage to one’s liver, kidney and central nervous system.


When you paint rooms, lay new carpet or install furniture try to ensure lots of ventilation.

So that’s my quick short trip around global warming facts. What are my conclusions?

Picture of the world in our hands
Photo: Bill Oxford @ Unsplash

It’s interesting to see the amount of Carbon emissions sent into the atmosphere by us, is tiny! Particularly when compared with those occurring naturally. That gave me insight into why this is a slow, cumulative effect. It also gives me confidence that the greenhouse effect can be overcome.

We humans seem to be very slow to respond to a problem and then only in an incremental fashion. The current corona pandemic shows early action is the most successful. But most governments avoid offending powerful special interest groups. That leads to fudge and indecision. The same principle applies to global warming. Why would all of us oil guzzling, carnivorous, foreign holiday addicts line up for change? Even with all of the climate change facts at our fingertips we first worlders are just too comfortable.

We do seem to be lumbering towards turning the oil tanker around though! Usually the best solution to a problem is to make something financially attractive. We are seeing the decay of fossil fuel use in favour of electricity. This is increasingly made using “clean” technology. There are backwards steps of course on the journey. For example, I would much rather see the cost of our H2 rail project spent on renewable energy schemes. Imagine what £100 Billion could achieve to support the transition to renewable energy!

So – how much Carbon do we need to reduce by to achieve net zero?

girl holding globe in woods demonstrating net zero
Photo by thomas scott on Unsplash

We need to put 38 billion tonnes less CO2 per year into the atmosphere to wipe out all global warming. The world average is 4.8 tonnes per person worldwide, but first world residents create up to 16 tonnes each. That compares to 0.1 tonnes for residents in Mali and Niger.

So, the world is trying to limit temperature growth to 1.5C. Carbon output is still growing however, so that’s unlikely and we already are slipping towards 2C.

It’s difficult to predict how much more pollutant we can add to the atmosphere and keep to 1.5°C. A good estimate to keep a good chance of meeting that is – 400 to 500 Billion tonnes. This is known as our Carbon budget. It says that to hit Net Zero by 2050 we need to reduce our carbon footprint by a further 60%. The longer we take to do this the more we will have to give up!


What can we contribute to reducing global warming?

a crowd of yellow bicycles
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Simple things that we are starting to do are as follows and do make a difference of tons of personal CO2 production.

Changing light bulbs to a low energy bulb. Saving – 150 lbs per bulb.

Drive less. Saving – 1lb of CO2 for every mile you don’t drive!

Recycle more. saving – 2,400 lbs of CO2 per year by recycling just half of your household waste.

Check your tyres. Every gallon of fuel saved keeps 20 lbs of CO2 out of the atmosphere.

Use less hot water. It takes a lot of energy to heat water. Take shorter, cooler showers. Wash clothes at a lower temperature and ensure a full load. Saving – More than 500 lbs of CO2 annually.

Avoid packaging. Saving – 1,200 lbs of CO2 if you reduce your rubbish by 10%.

Adjust your thermostat. Saving – 1,000 lbs from 1 degree reduction in winter, more in summer

Plant a tree. Saving – A single tree will absorb one tonne of CO2 over its lifetime.

Turn off electronic devices when you’re not using them. Saving – thousands of lbs of CO2 a year.

Eat a more plant based diet.To get the same protein from beef as peas, emissions are nearly 90 times higher.

You can find out more about this issue here.

There are 2204 lbs to a UK Tonne. So, have a quick review to calculate what savings you might be able to make?

If you do want to calculate your own carbon footprint, here is the link to a popular and free site. If you want to see lots of statistics about global warming go to – https://ourworldindata.org/co2-and-other-greenhouse-gas-emissions#future-emission-scenarios

Slow progress? Some reasons to be cheerful.

Poster saying - There is no Planet B
Image: Marcus Spiske@Unsplash

Don’t beat yourself up too much. UK greenhouse gas emmissions peaked in The UK’s CO2 emissions peaked in the year 1973 and have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country. lot of savings are going to have to come from big reductions in shipping items around the world. Also moving away from fossil fuels and aviation will need to play a part. Redesign in industrial processes and power generation will also need to be introduced swiftly. There is also hope that carbon capture technology will advance to fill shortfalls.

More good news is the tropical deforestation fact that cutting can be halted. In many places it already is being reduced. A variety of approaches have shown promising results. These include corporate deforestation-free commitments to the REDD+ initiative and the Soy Moratorium. Progress requires a sustained commitment by governments, businesses, consumers, and non-governmental organizations. Their goal – the ending—and as possible, reversal—of tropical deforestation.

How do we apply all of this into Ironfire Industrial furniture?

collage of Ironfire industrial style furniture
See the whole range of indoors/outdoors furniture

Hopefully the material above makes it easier to grasp the effect our products have on global warming? The world seems to be full of people saying that they are doing a great job. Often that sounds more an advertising strategy than trying to make something in a better way. So, does Ironfire stand up to examination as sustainable furniture?

It was key, to me, to learn that reprocessing old steel creates more VOCs than new. I am pretty sure of course that fact doesn’t hold if you include ore extraction. But it does suggest that there aren’t any straightforward solutions, more, a lot of grey areas.

First off, in a globalised consumer market, no business can survive making utilitarian products. Neither can they use materials irrespective of cost. Making things that you have to be rich to afford is not, in my view, much of a contribution to a sustainable future. The same goes for hand making craft items. Great, but again is not a path to make a difference to global warming. Second, should we be balancing sustainability against ecological materials? By this I mean, is it better to make something once and well, than make it disposable. The question that quickly follows that is… Is it preferable to use a material that emits twice as many VOCs but lasts four times longer? The answer is, of course, to do neither but the point is that there is often a trade off. That means we have to be practical and choose the lesser of two evils?

Gin Table @ Lisas
Basic ironfire gin station – available with wheels, storage & branding.

So, Ironfire’s challenge is to make industrial furniture with (as close as possible) to a net zero global warming effect. At the same time, it needs to be affordable, practical and attractive. We are very keen to show that our aims are not an affectation but the normal way that business should be.

Our belief is that we should concentrate on making Ironfire last as long as possible. That means making it strong and robust but also simple to repair, to refresh and to renew. It also means protecting it against the elements too. You can see a description of the 7 different ways we do things to achieve these aims here.

Simply – if we can make a thing last twice as long then we’ve already halved our environmental impact.

White Coffee table in front of fire
Ironfire Coffee table 1400 x 1400mm

Making things is not just about what materials you use, it’s about the whole business. Here’s our specific ideas.

We design and make everything we sell. We don’t ship in cheap, trendy furniture from Asia. The CO2 impact of shipping miles is huge. We try to ensure that our steel is UK produced. It’s always galvanised, which is a VOC free process, ensuring long life. We then powder coat, another VOC free process. Some things we sub contract from reputable partners we have worked with for years. Everything, however is produced in the South West of England.

Wood is generally seen as carbon neutral. We use only quick growing UK pine. This is renewable Douglas Fir from a timber mill within 30 miles. We then air dry it and coat it with long lasting, VOC free waxes.

We use British glass and metal fixings treated with rust protection. There are only three things we can’t UK source. One of these is unique waterproof material from 500 miles away in Holland. The second, small Hydrophobic valves made to our design and posted from China. Third our wood treatment we produce from Belgian bases travelling 275 miles to us.

We try to deliver everything we make and plan effective delivery routes. We only supply direct to our customer. Cutting out the retailer saves our customers money. It also allows wider customer choice and a personal service. It also means that we can avoid disposable packaging which is a big fact of global warming.

Ironfire doesn’t want to be politically correct for the sake of it. We want to make practical ecological choices about complicated issues. Well sustainable furniture anyway! For example, we currently powder coat metal and can pass on that industry’s claim that the process is VOC free. The truth is the process involves a lot of heat during process and harsh chemicals in the cleaning. At the same time is powder coating the best finish for us? We are looking at alternatives which are longer lasting and more pleasing to the customer. A strong coating means using two pack finishes and we can’t find anything that is water based…yet. That means a level of VOCs but believe the benefit of improved product to end user justifies that. We must offset the heat involved in powder coating against a low level of VOCs emitted in a cold spray process.

About the author: Andrew Knight lives near Frome in Somerset. He has been running his business Ri Manufacturing for 25 years. Ironfire is a new challenge. Read about us here. He’s spent his career solving problems and turning them into products. There’s been enough success and failure to ensure he retains his enthusiasm and a sense of humour! Many thanks to Kiran P and to Shannon B for their patient editing of this article.

All comments welcome, please send to: andrew@iron-fire.co.uk

Other Ironfire blogs that relate to this subject:



Finally, further reference material (for those I haven’t quite bored to death!)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane