The Little Things - Green Little Things

By Janet Ramin on January 6th, 2010
Designer Monthly's Little Things column places a spotlight on those home accessories that are often overlooked, and we'll show how they can be improved to make a world of a difference. Our pursuit is to enhance the decor through economical yet aesthetically superior measures.

Green Little Things

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We've talked before about how to achieve an eco-friendly environment through the different paths of sustainability, recycling, reclaiming, and reusing. For this Designer Monthly issue, we'll explore in greater detail specific products for your home that are eco-friendly.

One of the principles of green design is sustainability. To prevent depletion of scarce resources, the green-friendly method is to use products that are made from sustainable materials. Examples of sustainable materials are bamboo and eucalyptus. These plants are sustainable because they are easy to reproduce. Also, harvesting these plants will not harm other living organisms nearby — unlike the harvesting of hardwood trees.

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Both bamboo and eucalyptus can be transformed into floors, sheets, and other home accessories. You can find these soft bamboo and eucalyptus sheets at Bed Bath and Beyond. Another sustainable plant is the mango tree and small wood products can be manufactured from this tree. This storage cube from Viva Terra is framed in mango wood and covered in abaca fibers or hemp, another sustainable plant.

Reclaiming materials and transforming it into another product is another green principle. Many industrial designers are reclaiming wood from old houses and buildings that are being torn down and creating new products with the wood. This Root of the Earth serving platter and fruit basket from Viva Terra is created from reclaimed fir burlwood.

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Recycling is the most commonly used green method and there are now m any glass products created from recycled glass. The Monarch Butterfly nightlight from Uncommon Goods is created from recycled glass bottles. Designers Vawn and Mike Gray of Reborn Glass fired the glass in a kiln to create these sparkling nightlights. From Viva Terra, we find frosted jewel-tone vases, also made from recycled glass.

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Instead of using disposable objects, like paper plates and plastic utensils, and adding to the rising landfill, why not try reusable dishware? Designer Wolf Udo Wagner from Simplicitas of Stockholm created the triangular picnic server set. The picnic set is an all-purpose server, container, cup, spoon and fork set. The cover for this triangular server detaches and becomes a cup for hot and cold drinks. There is also a triangular detachable combo-spoon and fork. The very efficient picnic server takes up little space and can be reused. You can find the picnic server at A Plus R's website.

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Finding green furnishings and accessories for the home and everyday use is becoming easier as more and more people become aware of the environment's fragility. Simply inquiring about how products are made and the sustainability of its materials can go a long way in communicating to designers and retailers that you care about the impact of its manufacture on the environment. As more interest grows in eco-friendly goods, the more green products will become a viable alternative and the better it is for earth.

Resources

You can learn more ways to enhance the décor of your home with economical means by taking one of our interior design courses.


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