Furniture accounts for a significant portion of the nearly 20 percent of the durable goods that enter the municipal solid waste stream, according to the U.S. EPA. Beyond this waste, the category’s environmental impact stems from the materials and chemicals used in the creation of the products. They are often produced with volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that affect indoor air quality and, in turn, human health. Flame retardants, according to the Center for Environmental Health, have a long history of health and environmental problems and studies have found that they offer no measurable fire safety benefits. Several manufacturers are now promoting and certifying the environmental and health benefits of their alternative product lines that are equivalent on performance and style, and similar in price.


  • Durable
  • Flame retardant–free (TB 117-2013)
  • Low VOC’s
  • Remanufactured
  • Recycled content
  • Recyclable


  • Added flame retardants
  • PVC
  • Added anti-microbials
  • Formaldehyde

End of Life

  • Surplus
  • Re-use
  • Donate
  • Recycle

Environmental Labels

  • Geca (Good Environmental Choice Australia); Cradle to Cradle; Recycled Content; BIFMA Label; Declare; Scientific Certification Systems (SCS); UL GreenGuard; Sustainable Materials Rating Technology (SMaRT); TÜV Rheinland Green Product; Sustainable Furnishings Council (SFC) Exemplary; FSC Chain of Custody; California’s TB 117-2013