Patio furniture is a large purchase - in both cost and size - and any smart, eco-friendly consumer would be wise to do a little research before taking the plunge on a new piece. Not only do you want pieces that will last and hopefully not end up in a landfill next year, but you want to purchase products that are made from sustainable materials and from reliable companies that are making eco-friendly choices themselves.
Many companies are now turning plastic waste into fresh, eco-friendly products using recycled plastic in many of their outdoor pieces. Recycled plastic is a great outdoor option because it’s lightweight and easily movable. It’s also easy to protect because it can be stored in a shed and plastic chairs can be stacked and put under a custom stackable chair cover.
In addition, recycled plastic that is being made to look like and replicate real wood is all the rage this year. It can be used in flooring, benches, and tables. It’s easy to maintain - no need to stain yearly, and from a distance, you’d never know it’s not real wood. It’s more versatile than traditional wood and not as susceptible to water damage. It’s also keeping a lot of plastic out of our oceans!
When properly maintained, wood furniture can be handed down from generation to generation. It’s fairly common for people to have a picnic table or outdoor porch swing handed down from a grandparent. That’s because Grandma was always sure to add a fresh coat of stain and sealant on a regular basis.
Wood may be a little extra work in comparison to other types of furniture, but the look and feel of real wood is priceless. Do a little research into which types of outdoor-friendly sealants last the longest and are best for the type of weather that’s most common in your area.
Adding a picnic table cover to your favorite table during the rainy off-season is also a wise decision.
Unlike traditional wicker furniture, polyethylene furniture is non-toxic to the environment and 100% recyclable. Traditional wicker is made out of plastic which is non-biodegradable and will be sitting in landfills a long, long time after we’re gone. While still considered outdoor-friendly, most wicker doesn’t hold up well long term in wet conditions. Keeping it under a covered area or using a fitted waterproof chair cover is definitely the way to go.
Many outdoor fabrics are easily worn down and you’ll find yourself replacing them year after year. Make sure that the fabric you’re buying is actually rated for outdoor use. You want to look for something that is 100% waterproof (not just water-resistant), UV resistant, and tough enough to hold up for outdoor use. Outdoor cushions should be easy to wipe clean and simple to remove and swap out when you change your outdoor style.
Adding a cover to protect your fabric furniture is an additional step that you can take towards sustainability. It will make your fabrics last significantly longer and will require less laundering of the fabric, which saves on water as well. A material such as Cover Fab, providing all of these traits while also being tear and abrasion resistant, is the way to go. It comes in multiple color choices too so no matter what your decorative flair is, you’re bound to find a cover that fits your aesthetic perfectly.
It’s our job as humans to take care of the planet that we live on and do our best to reduce our footprint. If we all take that extra minute to do our research, making sustainable choices is a snap!