Summer is the time for many of us to really enjoy the outdoors. I realize some parts of the country, and around the world, folks have nice weather most or all the year. Where I live, the Upper Midwest, we have a short season to sit in the sun and relax in the outdoors, about 3 to 5 months, depending on if the weather cooperates. We just got done with about two weeks of solid rain, so that took a big chunk out of our summer enjoyment. I’m not saying there aren’t activities to enjoy in the winter, but those activities don’t typically involve sitting, unless it’s ice fishing.
Whether you have a few months or a whole year to enjoy on a deck or patio, what do you sit on? Finding eco outdoor furniture is getting easier, but it is still challenging. One of the most eco-friendly ways to furnish your outdoors is with second-hand furniture. Garage, yard, or thrift sales are a great place to find pieces like that. Sometimes the furniture needs some TLC and a fresh coat of paint, but sometimes it’s in perfect condition. FreeCycle is another source for used items. Look for a local Free Cycle in your area. Don’t forget about Goodwill, Salvation Army and other second-hand stores. If you’ve exhausted all your second-hand options and still haven’t found the right thing, there is new furniture available that is eco-friendly.
Polywood is a nice choice because it uses recycled plastic in its production, which keeps the plastic out of landfulls (yes, I wrote landfulls on purpose). There are many colors and furniture styles to choose from. Polywood lasts a long time and doesn’t need maintenance. There are many, many sites to find polywood, just type it into a search engine. Natural wood is a good choice, but you need to make sure the wood comes from a FSC certified or Rainforest Alliance certified site. Teak, cedar, and eucalyptus are good for outdoor use and will last a long time. The other plus with wood is that while it’s growing it is giving oxygen to the environment and providing habitat. Aluminum and steel can also be eco choices as well. They are both recyclable and often times contain recycled content. If aluminum and steel are well made and cared for they can last for many years, steel and last a lifetime. Recycled and upcycled materials are wonderful choices for outdoor furniture. Remember, a coat of exterior paint can make many items suitable for outdoor use.