One way to be a bit more gentle on our poor old planet, is to limit the purchase of new consumer items by buying used. This is especially a good idea for soft furnishings where off-gassing fabrics and foams, which provide the most potential for harm to occupants, have become neutral or stable after completing their off-gassing phase years ago. For our office we dug around on Craigslist to find ourselves a ‘new’ second-hand couch for our lounge. We specifically sought out any couch by the late Upholstery Arts because of their legacy of sustainable furniture. You may be familiar with their beautiful products, but did you know that they addressed sustainability in all components of their soft furnishings?  Their fabrics were durable, low-VOC, and made from green sources.   The frames were built from FSC certified wood products, and the fills included low-VOC soy-based foams.  We selected a model with a neutral palette and simple design, to ensure it has the longevity to last through several eras of design and colour trends.

Unfortunately UA went out of business, but many of their couches are still a available second hand.  Several local companies have filled the void and are providing eco-alternatives to UA with really impressive specifications.  If you are buying new, check out: Fawcett Mfg’s sustainable couches at, or Live Edge Design’s reclaimed lounge furniture at

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