There are several environmentally friendly ways to obtain furniture for your UBC office or building.
Before purchasing new furniture, check Reuse-it! UBC to purchase used furniture from other UBC departments at no or low cost, or contact your Facilities Manager, since they may have low-cost used office furniture readily available.
If you must purchase new furniture, choose durable, adaptable products that contain recycled or sustainably-sourced materials and low or no volatile organic compounds (VOCs), to reduce indoor air pollutants in your work space. When a piece of furniture is no longer needed, continue the eco-friendly cycle by listing it on Reuse-it! UBC, or find other ways to extend its life and use and keep it out of the landfill.
- Reused or refurbished items, which are available through Reuse-it! UBC
- High quality, durable, modular and adaptable products
- Locally manufactured and Canadian-made furniture
- Low or no VOC-emitting products
- Furniture made with sustainably-sourced wood (i.e. FSC certified wood)
- Products containing non-toxic adhesives, paints and coatings
- Seating and furniture with ergonomic designs
- Suppliers that can recycle/dispose of products responsibly at the end of their life, through take-back, deconstruction, and donation programs
- Purchasing new, if used is available
- Low-quality products requiring short-term replacement
- Furniture styles that outdate easily and are non-functional
- Furniture without any ecolabels (e.g. GreenGuard, SCS Indoor Advantage), which often contains VOC-emitting chemicals*
- Wood furniture without the FSC label, which is often made from non-certified tropical hardwoods, or woods that are not from sustainably-harvested sources
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are gases given off by indoor sources, including paint, carpet and furniture. VOCs are carbon-based chemicals and can cause health problems, including eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, nausea, dizziness, and skin problems.