Wood is one of the “greenest” building  materials available to us today! It is a renewable resource that is strong, long-lasting and has a myriad of applications. Even better, while trees are growing they absorb carbon from the atmosphere and store it. At the end of the “first life” of a wood product,  it can often be recycled two, three or more times and, sometimes, even composted. Where wood becomes unsustainable is when it is harvested through destructive logging practices that contribute to habitat destruction, water pollution, displacement of indigenous peoples, and violence against forest workers and wildlife.

Q: How can we as consumers tell if we are supporting responsible forestry practices or not?
A: Through the FSC!

The international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is a non-governmental and non-profit organization that works to combat destructive practices by encouraging responsible forest management. FSC has offices in 145 countries, and 384 million acres of certified forest around the globe. The FSC Logo can be found on all kinds of different products from paper to decking – if you see the logo it means that the wood in that product is from an FSC certified supplier.

When a forest is FSC certified you can be sure that it is a forest that is managed for ecological health, sustainable harvest levels, and social responsibility. Ecological health includes protecting the wildlife, water, air and soil. Sustainable harvest levels are ensured by never cutting more than what will grow back.  Social responsibility is attended to  through rules surrounding indigenous rights, labor rights, and multiple benefits. Indeed, FSC has developed a set of 10 Principles and 57 Criteria that all FSC certified companies must follow. As a third party certifier, the organization carries out regular audits of certified companies’ practices to ensure that they maintain FSC standards.

Here’s a cool infographic that illustrates the important role that FSC plays in the global supply of wood for building materials (and other purposes):

Friday, September 28th, we celebrated International FSC Friday. Learn more about the FSC at www.fscus.org.

 

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Green Depot Mercer Rug: A luxurious, hand-tufted, cut-pile rug in rich colors, and various sizes. GoodWeave Certified.

Do you know who made that area rug you’re about to buy? There can be a lot of questions when it comes to judging if a rug is sustainable or not. From what it’s made of, to where it comes from, to who made it – there is not often a lot of information available! Fortunately, there is an organization that is working to shed some light in the industry: GoodWeave International.

GoodWeave International (GWI, formerly known as RugMark) is an organization working to end child labor and increase sustainable practices in rug manufacturing. Taking a stand against child labor in the rug industry is important because children employed making rugs can develop spinal injuries, respiratory problems, and impaired vision as a result of the work. In addition to physical ailments, the lack of educational opportunities for these children can also have a lifetime’s worth of repercussions. The goal that drives GWI is simple, yet aggressive: to grow demand for GoodWeave certification so that rug manufacturers around the world will embrace socially responsible practices and end the use of child labor in the rug industry.

To be certified, a company must apply and meet GWI’s strict standards like requiring employees to be 15 years of age or older, fair labor practices and healthy, sustainable working environments. To make sure that a company remains true to their high standards after being certified, GWI sends inspectors to licensed manufacturers to visit on a random, yet regular basis. The GWI uses the funds raised through its certification program to provide educational opportunities for former child laborers.

All Green Depot Area Rugs carry GoodWeave Certification. Hand woven in India out of the finest natural fibers like wool, hemp and jute, each beautiful creation is certified by GoodWeave International! All are 100% biodegradable, made from renewable materials, vegetable dyes, and are child labor free.

Whatever the style of your home, an area rug can instantly update the mood and look of any room in the house. We carry a pattern for everyone; from the bold, geometric “Ikat Rug” to the fun, imaginative “Smart Car Rug,” ideal for children. These are great for the person looking for stylish, sustainable, and savvy decor.

   
Green Depot Ikat Rug: These handwoven, wool area rugs feature designs that are as dramatic as these rugs are sustainable. Green Depot Smart Car Rug: Perfect for a child’s room! Made with exclusively natural materials. Green Depot Delancy Rug: This plant fiber area rug is handwoven in a contrasting black and natural diamond pattern.

 

Green Depot Area Rugs are now 45% off and can be found at our Seattle and Portland locations. Shipping is available!

Zoe Bloom contributed to this post.

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The LifeEdited Apartment transforms to allow for all aspects of home life in just 420 sf

Graham Hill’s LifeEdited apartment is finally complete and, in a recent article, the New York Times is calling it the apartment of the future!

Launched in 2010, the project began as an international competition. Graham Hill (the founder of Treehugger) challenged designers around the world to come up with a design that would allow for a large sit-down dinner party, comfortable lounging for 8, space for overnight guests (with privacy), a home office, a hideable kitchen and more! The winning design was submitted by Romanian architecture students Catalin Sandu and Adrian Iancu and construction began!

The build out of the apartment included many green features from the drywall and the insulation to FSC flooring and 0-VOC paints!

Graham Hill’s project is a thought provoking and inspiring demonstration of just how little space, and how little stuff, it actually takes to live a 21st century American lifestyle. Transforming apartments, along with transforming furniture and compact appliances, are becoming more and more popular and that means that soon, more and more of us may have the opportunity to live large by living small – just like Graham Hill.  Visit the LifeEdited website for more inspiring examples of compact living spaces and innovative, space-saving products.

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Last year, Treehugger founder Graham Hill announced a new project called “LifeEdited.”  Inspired by mounting evidence that owning more stuff does not lead to more happiness, he decided to find a way to “have it all” without all the things that frequently seem to go along with that. First, he purchased a much-smaller-than-average apartment in New York City. Then, he challenged designers from around the world to come up with a design for his new 420 square foot space that would allow him to reduce his dependence on stuff and still live comfortably.

Graham Hill had certain requirements for his finished apartment design. Because he needs a home office, likes to host out-of-town guests, hold large dinner parties, and has hobbies that require some storage, the apartment had to allow for the following:
• a sit-down dinner for 12 people
• a comfortable lounging option for 8
• space for 2 overnight guests (with some privacy)
• a home office
• a work area with space for a rolling tool chest
• a hideable kitchen

Creative ideas for apartment designs poured in from all over the world that included minimalist bicycle storage, moving walls, and myriad takes on transformable furniture. You can see all of the designs (including the winning submission) that came in by clicking here. Anyone who already lives in a small space, or who is even just flirting with the idea of downsizing, will find these designs inspiring.

With products from Green Depot like drywall, 0-VOC paints and FSC-Certified woods, the project build-out is finally under way! We’ll be blogging about the project’s progress, so check back for updates.


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For more information about LifeEdited, please visit lifeedited.org

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This week, Green Depot Founder, Sarah Beatty hosted a special evening with “The Father of LEED,” Rob Watson, and Jigar Shah, CEO of The Carbon War Room. 75 people gathered for a discussion of the political, environmental, and technical realties of the race to prevent unmanageable climate disruption. Attendees included representatives from across the community including lending firms, retail stores, designers, artists, media and event companies, climate change organizations, public schools and universities, green building experts and more! This kind of cross-disciplinary discussion is vitally important if we hope to begin to tackle the issues of our time. All of the event’s attendees are dedicated, in their lives and organizations, to thinking bravely and differently about how to combat climate change. The challenges that we face are universal – engagement and cooperative action from all segments of our markets and communities is essential.

The leaders of this week’s discussion are both prominent, active leaders in the fight against climate change, Rob Watson and Jigar Shah.

Rob Watson is pioneer of the modern green building movement and  is best known as “the Father of LEED” for his leading role in the development of the LEED green building rating system, the most widespread and fastest-growing international green building standard. In 2007 he founded EcoTech International Group to meet the fast-growing demand for green building technologies and services worldwide. As the Director of International Energy and Green Buildings Programs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Mr. Watson has worked in China on green building programs and market development since 1997, and is a recipient of a “Green Innovation” award by China’s Ministry of Construction, the only foreign expert so honored.

Jigar Shah is the CEO of the Carbon War Room, Jigar is dedicated to identifying business-as-usual practices and replacing them with low-carbon solutions. Prior to the Carbon War Room, Jigar founded SunEdison in 2003. Under his leadership, SunEdison revolutionized the solar industry by introducing a business model to sell solar as a service. The transformation to solar power service agreements is responsible for turning solar services into a multi-billion dollar industry. Jigar is also an expert on energy project finance, changing energy policy, working with entrenched stakeholders, and convincing individuals to embrace energy technology. He works closely with entrepreneurs, policymakers, and investors around the world to develop, incubate, and implement sustainable solutions.

The event was sponsored by Tipping Point Productions and Serious Energy.

We look forward to continuing the conversation at future such events, and in the community at large.

Click here to visit our Homepage.

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How can you incorporate sustainability into your life beyond the paint you put on your walls, or the toilet you choose to install? By greening your holiday celebrations! Pacific Northwest eco-mavens Corey Colwell Lipson and her mom Lynn Colwell have written a book called Celebrate Green which is an incredible resource for ideas on how to make holidays healthy and eco-friendly. The first holiday that they set out to tackle was Halloween – a holiday typically heavily laden with PVC and High Fructose Corn Syrup. They got so inspired, that they quickly launched Green Halloween® – a non-profit, grassroots initiative to encourage families to find eco-friendly costumes, decorations and treats! Now a nationwide movement, and a program of EcoMom Alliance, Green Halloween educates and inspires communities all over the country by showing how easy, affordable, and fun it can be to factor our earth and our health into our daily choices.

It is easier to green your Halloween than you might think, it just takes a little forethought! Here are some of their great ideas:

+ Instead of giving away conventional candy, consider items such as pencils made from recycled newsprint, temporary tattoos sporting eco-savvy themes, or 100% fruit leathers. Even organic lollipops are better for children and the planet and some come in compostable wrappers.

+ Instead of buying a costume this year, see if you can make one out of materials you have lying around your house, can borrow from a friend or can find at a thrift store. Or, host a costume swap with your neighbors.

+ Decorate your front lawn, porch and home with items from nature. Pumpkins, gourds and hay are all great, green items that can be composted when November 1st rolls around.

To read all about Green Halloween and find fun events near you, visit GreenHalloween.org. You can learn how to get involved locally, sign up for the super nifty newsletter, and get fab DIY costume ideas, recipes, upcycled décor how-to‘s and more. There‘s even a trick-or-treat bag design contest for kids! So forget orange and black. With upcoming events in cities across the U.S., this community initiative is adding much-needed green to Halloween. It‘s a scream!

Check out this video of Corey showing green Trick or Treat alternatives to Halloween Candy:

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