Our Sustainable Wood Furniture: How Is It Green?
What is Sustainable Forestry?
Our Vermont made furniture is made with choice hardwoods such as Cherry, Maple, Oak, or Walnut which are harvested through sustainable forestry practices. The predominant method is Single Tree Selection where trained foresters select individual trees for harvesting. The cut logs are then removed with the least disruption to the surrounding environment. This method creates openings in the forest canopy allowing more precipitation, sunlight, and nutrients to reach the forest floor ensuring the health of other trees. Responsible forest management takes into consideration long term timber production, while addressing water quality, wildlife habitat, biodiversity, forest aesthetics and recreational opportunities. The same can’t always be said for Asian or Rainforest woods where responsible forest management practices often take a back seat to maximizing profits.
American Hardwoods – The Sustainable Material
American Hardwoods reproduce prolifically. Currently nearly twice as much hardwood grows each year than is harvested, which is why in the last 50 years the volume of hardwood in U.S. forests has doubled. American foresters follow a simple rule: On-going replenishment equals a sustained supply. Hardwood trees are grown through a process patented by nature. They’re not mined or created through a chemically intense manmade process. Trees use the power of sunlight to separate carbon dioxide into carbon and oxygen atoms. The carbon is used to grow roots, trunk, branches, and leaves, while the oxygen is released to enrich the air. After a tree is harvested a very small amount of energy is needed to turn it into lumber or other wood products.
Our Woodworkers Eco-Friendly Practices
At Vermont Woods Studios we work with many of the best furniture makers in Vermont. Each individual workshop has it's own methods and procedures for sustainability (we are happy to discuss further details based on the workshop your furniture will originate in) but one thing we share is the fact that our "green" values have been passed down through generations of Yankee woodworkers. We can honestly say that Vermont woodworkers' green practices are not new here-- they have been a consistent part of our culture throughout our history.
Below is a summary of the green practices from one of our woodworking shops, Lyndon Furniture. Lyndon builds all of the furniture in the following collections: Vermont Modern Collection, New England Shaker Collection and Classic Shaker Collection, Renfrew Shaker Collection, Modern Mission Collection, American Mission Collection, Northup Craftsman Collection, Bow-Front Collection, Green Mountain Collection, Smith Natural Vermont Collection, Andrews Cherry Collection and Country Cottage Collection. Their policies are typical of the Vermont wood furniture industry, however if you would like similar information for other woodworking studios we represent please give us a call.
- Lyndon's "green" practices start with our Purchasing Policy. By purchasing our materials through responsible local partners, we minimize transport distances and help our regional economy. This policy greatly reduces fuel usage and carbon emissions. The hardwoods we utilize are grown and harvested within a 500 mile radius of our factory. Some are even harvested less than two miles away, from the owner's own property. This is in sharp contrast to furniture imported from China or other places where the lumber might be sourced from thousands of miles away in Africa or South America, thus consuming great amounts of energy in transit before timber is received for furniture production.
- Lyndon Furniture utilizes advanced technology and responsible manufacturing to maximize the yield and reduce the amount of wood waste, making certain that all wood processing by-products are put to some use. As an example, our sawdust is used by local farmers for animal bedding.
- Lyndon Furniture's finishes and stains are all made in Vermont. Vermont has some of the strictest environmental laws in the country which coincide with our views and respect of nature. Consequently our finishes have far lower VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAPs (Hazardous Air Pollutants) than current American industry standards, and far exceed standards of imported products.
- All our cardboard boxes are made in New England with 100% post-consumer material. Our cardboard vendors also utilize a "closed loop" system which means we can return used and waste cardboard to be remade into new boxes.
- Lyndon Furniture has an extensive recycling program. We recycle paper, cardboard, metal and wood waste. Most materials (with the exception of the wood waste) are picked up by our local recycling center for proper material reintegration. Wood scrap is utilized as a biomass heating source while sawdust is used by local farmers. We have also made significant investments in energy efficiency to reduce our costs, and more importantly our carbon footprint.
- Proudly made in Northern Vermont, USA, by American wood artisans. At Lyndon helping to continue the furniture making traditions of America is a priority and part of our core philosophy as a company. Lyndon Furniture is proud that 100% of its furniture is made in the USA. The furniture industry in America has been severely impacted by foreign imports to the point that nearly three quarters of the furniture sold in this country are now imported from China and other countries. Many American furniture brands that are old established household names are importing part or all of their offerings from overseas.
Why buying American furniture is green
- Consider how much fuel is burned when an overseas producer ships furniture half way around the world to the U.S
- The U.S. has very sound, stringent workplace health and safety rules for manufacturers. Our woodworking studios are regulated by VOSHA mandates that aim to guarantee a safe working environment. We don't use particle board or other manmade materials which contain formaldehyde or other toxins. Lead and similar harmful substances have long been banned from use in finishing Vermont made products. The veneer plywood we use for the backs of our case goods comes from American producers who are CARB (California Air Resource Board) Phase II compliant. Working conditions and materials used at overseas factories are not always subject to such strict regulations or close scrutiny by their governments.
- Our employees are our friends and neighbors. When you purchase furniture from Vermont Woods Studios you are helping to provide well-paid jobs with good benefits and that helps our local community, our state and the national economy. Consider this: According to a recent report on ABC World News, if every American spends an additional $3.33 a year on U.S. Made products, an additional 10,000 jobs are created.