The furniture industry today tends to increasingly ignore the concept of sustainability. This started from the popularity of the fast furniture industry abroad. The fast furniture industry utilizes cheap materials, so they can be sold at low prices. In addition, the products are easy to obtain, even through online stores.
However, cheap materials certainly affect the quality of the product and make it not durable. In a short period of time, consumers have had to throw away their products and buy new ones. This condition also causes demand and production in the fast furniture industry to increase.
With this increase, the negative impact on the environment and living things is increasingly worrying. The following are reasons why fast furniture is harmful to the environment.
Deforestation is the second leading cause of climate change, after the burning of fossil fuels. Fast furniture production also plays a role in deforestation in several regions of the world, one of which is Africa.
Many fast furniture products made in China use wood sources from Central Africa. Due to high consumer demand, fast furniture companies in China then need more wood from Central Africa than before.
In addition, a study conducted by the World Wildlife Fund in 2016 reported that 68 percent of retailers selling fast furniture products failed to implement wood sourcing policies to protect forests and provide transparency to consumers.
Although some companies claim to plant new trees to replace those that are cut down, these are often monoculture plantations that are not very sustainable. This is because regenerating forest land to its original state can take decades.
Waste Piling in TPA
Fast furniture has now been overproduced. This condition contributes to the increasing amount of furniture waste in final landfills or TPA each year. With most fast furniture using plastic materials, of course it takes years to decompose. Besides that, plastic furniture waste also causes an increase in the production of microplastics and hazardous chemicals during the decomposition process.
Apart from plastic, fast furniture products also use other non-environmentally friendly materials. One that is also widely used is particleboard. This material is made of pressed wood chips or hemp chips and synthetic resins. Because of this, their manufacture requires high energy, and dust from working some of the resins used in particleboard can be carcinogenic and cause respiratory problems for workers.
Particleboard is also very easily damaged and cannot be sanded and repainted like solid wood. Vulnerable to rot due to moist air, making it difficult to reuse or recycle. In the end, it will end up in the landfill.
Not many people know that the production of fast furniture usually requires a lot of water, especially for products made of plastic. The process of shipping fast furniture products from abroad also significantly leaves an ever-increasing carbon footprint. Not only that, some companies also ignore workers’ human rights, such as unfair wages, lack of protection against exposure to toxic chemicals, and so on.