"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better." Maya Angelou
As a furniture and home furnishings retailer, the materials we use are obviously of fundamental importance. If we’re to act in a sustainable and transparent way and meet the highest environmental and social standards in all that we do, we need to be open and honest with you about those materials.
Below you can find out all about the materials we use: what they are, their pros and cons and, most importantly, our position on how we’ll use each of them to make our furniture in a circular system. These sections should tell you everything you need to know, but if after reading about them you have any questions or concerns, we’d love to hear from you – just email Andrew, our Circularity Lead, at andrew@nowsitdown.
Right now, we’re proud to be able to say that our products are by far ‘less bad’ than the alternative options out there. But we want to do more than that, and we'll continue to work to build more good into our products through the materials we use.
Because conscious living starts here.
As a soft, strong, hard-wearing, breathable, absorbent and washable fabric, it’s easy to see understand the popularity of cotton as a furniture covering. Cotton plays a big role in our products too - although only when it’s made in specific ways that mitigate the issues that are all too common in the cotton supply chain.
Polyester is one the most popular fibres in the world, accounting for about 65% of world textile production - so, unsurprisingly, it does feature heavily in furniture upholstery and coverings. It's a plastic though, so there’s a lot to be wary about with this material. So we’ve adopted a carefully considered approach to how we use polyester.
Coir is made from natural coconut fibres collected from the outer husk of coconuts and mixed with latex. Coconut palms grow throughout the tropics and the average mature coconut palm can produce up to 150 nuts per year, making coir a widely available resource that was previously in heavy use until the appearance of polyfoam. We’re keen to use coir more and more in our products, in place of polyfoam.
As a strong, versatile and beautiful material, wood has always been an essential component of furniture, either as a raw material for manufacturing, or in components and finished products. Wood is, of course, made from trees and it is therefore renewable and biodegradable. But it still needs to be sourced and used carefully, with full consideration given to the types of wood that should, and should not, be used.
Furniture is all about comfort, and so the padding for cushions and sofas is of huge importance. Since the 1960s, polyurethane foam (or polyfoam) has been the standard fill in most furniture because of its low cost, mouldability and comfort. In fact, it’s practically impossible to avoid using polyfoam in furniture. Yet it's a hugely problematic material and, to be honest, we hate it. This is why we’re trying to reduce - and then hopefully eliminate, our use of it.
Leather has a long association with furniture, especially high-end pieces, thanks to its luxurious look and feel and its durability. But it does come from animals, and there are a number of ways of making it, many of which are particularly toxic and environmentally unfriendly. There's an increasing number of new 'alternative leathers’ with the same general look and feel. So leather does require a considered position to be taken – which is what we have done.