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Buy a bed made with reclaimed or recycled materials

Written by Shomik Ghosh .
Give old trees new life with these recycled wood ideas. You'll get a unique, historic furniture piece and prevent new trees from being harvested from sensitive forests.
Green your dreams in a bed made from recycled or reclaimed content. These bed frames and headboards are constructed from salvaged materials that would otherwise go to the landfill. Choosing a bed made from reclaimed or recycled wood also ensures new materials are not harvested from forests to make a new piece of bedroom furniture.

How to choose a bed made from reclaimed or recycled materials

Reclaimed wood furniture isn't as easy to come by as conventional options in regular home decor and discount stores. But with a little legwork, you should be able to find some beautiful, historic pieces.
  1. Do a little research: Search your local phone book and the Internet for furniture companies that sell beds made from recycled materials. When looking for reclaimed wood beds, use these key words: recycled wood, reclaimed lumber, reused wood or rediscovered wood.
  2. Certified recycled: Visit SmartWood for a directory of certified rediscovered wood products. The Rainforest Alliance's SmartWood program provides certification to identify wood products that use salvaged, reclaimed, or recycled sources. Look for SmartWood's "Rediscovered Wood" logo.

Find it! Reclaimed or recycled wood bed makers

Believe it or not, your next bed may be made from 100-year old barn planks or reclaimed wood from the bottom of a lake. But don't worry, these bed options are durable, well-weathered, and beautiful, too.

Before you buy

Many eco-friendly furniture designers develop their creations abroad, so although suppliers are available nationwide, choice of recycled-content furniture in your locale may be limited. You'll also pay a premium for some recycled-content pieces, especially wood. The process of salvaging wood from demolition sites is time- and labor-intensive. In addition, most of the wood salvaged is originally from old-growth forests — a threatened resource — and is considered a high-quality product. Recycled wood needs to be properly processed before it is reused. Reclaimed or salvaged wood is often treated with various chemicals to protect against rotting from insects and microbial agents. These chemicals include chromated copper arsenic (CCA) or ammoniacal copper arsenate (ACA), which contain toxic arsenic and chromium and are considered hazardous wastes by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). A better option is reclaimed or salvaged wood treated with ammonium/copper/quaternary ammonia (ACQ), which is free of these hazardous substances and has been registered for use on lumber, timbers, landscape ties, fence posts, and other wood structures. Also, check that the wood has been planed and kiln-dried to ensure it will not warp and that insects are destroyed. To be sure these steps are performed in an environmentally responsible manner, seek products certified as "Rediscovered Wood" by SmartWood.

Choosing a bed made from recycled or reclaimed wood helps you go green because…

  • Reusing already-harvested wood prevents virgin resources from being extracted from the earth, protecting wild spaces and wild creatures.
  • Making use of existing products that would otherwise go to the landfill saves energy and keeps valuable resources out of the dump.
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