In India, every wedding includes a fresh set of furniture, that’s again mainly made of wood, plastic or metal. Did you know that you can source used furniture mostly on classifieds like Olx and Quikr, and also from stores that deal with used furniture?
High quality wooden furniture usually has a very long life span. Premium wood such as teak, oak, pine, sheesham, etc is passed on to generations. Using wood means that trees have been cut down to make the furniture, and in most cases, hard wood takes decades to grow. Because hard wood can last a lifetime, wooden furniture shouldn’t be discarded soon. Also, hard wood is also easy to repair, hence buying used wooden furniture is usually a safe decision if the quality of wood used is good. It is important to be careful as some furniture have a mix of premium and lower qualities of wood to bring down the costs. Lower grade plywood or laminates are prone to termites. Hire a carpenter who can be the best judge of this. Also, if the colour of wood has faded or the surface has scratches, a simple coat of paint or polish can bring back its sheen. Laminate wood or compressed saw dust wood is sometimes a greener choice. Bamboo and cane are fast growing wood, and furniture made of these is usually sustainable.
Plastic furniture is not as durable as wood or metal. Hence it is very important to check for bends and cracks in plastic. Examine chairs by sitting on them and looking underneath. It is difficult to repair cracks or remove scratches from plastic furniture unlike wood. Plastic furniture is also the cheapest. Hence if you get one in good condition, you are likely to get a value too. Also, the environmental impact of plastic is high. Recycling plastic is very convenient. The best way is to reuse them.
Metal furniture is affordable and sturdy. It is also highly recyclable. When looking at used metal furniture, check for rust and bends. If the rust is on the surface, a bit of sanding followed by painting can make it look new. But if the rust is deep, you will have to change that particular piece.
Bottom line, look for the source of wood when buying wooden furniture and avoid buying new plastic furniture. Metal can be the better choice in most cases in terms of the environment.