The kitchen might be the heart of the house, but the dining room — the area where we eat our meals together or alone — is its soul. A sustainable lifestyle also requires a sustainable dining room. We should all do our bit for the environment and make efforts to go zero-waste. This article will provide ten tips to create a sustainable dining room using the most eco-friendly products.
Use FSC-certified wood tables
The most environmentally friendly dining room table is the one we currently own. If the old dining room table is on its final leg (literally), replace it with a dining table made of wood and bearing the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification. It will help in creating a zero-waste dining room.
FSC certification ensures the sustainable procurement of wood with a focus on forest conservation, including preserving endangered animals and ancient forests. An "FSC 100%" label indicates the creation of the product entirely of virgin materials sourced from FSC-certified forests. In contrast, an "FSC Mix" label indicates that the product contains both recycled and virgin components.
If an FSC-certified wood dining table is unaffordable, the next best alternative could be to purchase a reusable one.
Use eco-friendly chairs
As stated above, existing chairs are the most eco-friendly alternative for a zero-waste dining area. Otherwise, look for chairs made of FSC-certified wood or salvaged wood.
Do not use plastic furniture
As a rule, avoid plastic furniture that requires the use of fossil fuels. Polypropylene is the most often used material in producing dining room sets. Even the ever-popular mid-century modern dining room design style involves the usage of plastic furniture. Polypropylene, unlike other polymers, is recyclable. On the other hand, a dining room set built of a wood-plastic combination is not recyclable.
Secondhand stores are a terrific place to buy a dining room table set. Look for used items at thrift stores, local Craigslist, tag sales, and Goodwill.
Set the table with GOTS-certified products
From table runners to placemats to napkins, there are several ways to incorporate sustainable design into a sustainable dining room. With Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certification, look at the sourcing of the fibers and the utilization of artificial dyes during the manufacturing process. A GOTS certification indicates that the producer has been officially certified to fulfill social and environmental requirements across the distribution network. (Organic Content Standards, or OCS, is another autonomous certification for organic cotton, but GOTS is more prevalent.) Dining tablecloths and placemats made of 100% cotton are available in various designs.
There are several eco-friendly fabrics available to decorate the dining area. Jute, for instance, is an organic fabric that is the world's second most common fabric after cotton. We also refer to jute as burlap or hessian; they are the same material. Jute, as a natural fabric, is compostable and does not require pesticides to thrive. Another alternative for a zero-waste dining area is the use of biodegradable napkins. Choose bamboo from USDA-certified organic farms and thoroughly examine the labels to confirm the absence of any bamboo-polyester combination. Look for items manufactured from natural fibers, such as eucalyptus, bamboo, and sugarcane. We can use post-industrial recycled paper too.
Use sustainable lighting
Ensure there is enough brightness for dining. A single overhead fixture, like a chandelier, would suffice. Whenever feasible, we recommend using a dimmer on the fixture. Table lights or scones can also be a great addition. Opt for lighting that has received the Energy Star certification to save energy. Energy Star is an initiative that encourages energy efficiency. The US Department of Energy (DOE) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsor the initiative. It uses standardized techniques to give info on the energy use of devices and equipment such as lights. Energy Star items consume less energy than non-certified products. Many brands offer a range of Energy Star light fixtures.
Also check out: 10 Sustainable Products to Make Your Home Greener
Get sustainable rugs and other accessories
Rugs may be useful in a dining hall even if they are not the central focus. Rugs make the area more defined. Toxin-free carpets usually contain organic wool, natural dyes, chemical-free treatments, and off-gassing adhesives containing VOCs. Wool is naturally flame resistant; thus, we require no synthetic flame retardants.
A dining area with no accent is dull; a space with too many clashing elements is disturbing. Flowers and candles may act as focal points, drawing visitors into a room. If feasible, choose local and organic flowers. Ensure the candles are made of all-natural soy or beeswax instead of petroleum-based wax. Soy and beeswax candles are more pleasant and better for the environment. Avoid putting fragrant candles with flowers as the fragrance might be too much.
Use compostable cutlery
Plastics are used to make disposable spoons, knives, and forks. Plastics are produced by extracting and refining natural resources such as natural gas and crude oil. Despite all the work that goes into making certain plastics, they are typically used only once. Around three hundred million tonnes of plastic is produced yearly, with half of that plastic designed for single use.
Plastics are finding their way back into the ecosystem, particularly the ocean, in terrifying ways. Plastics, in particular, degrade into microplastics and sea life and people subsequently ingest these.
In today’s world, there are many compostable cutlery options. While reusable cutlery is the most sustainable option, biodegradable cutlery is a good alternative. Look for items branded "compostable" or "biodegradable" and made of natural materials.
Use local and seasonal food
Food that has traveled great distances to reach the kitchen has a substantially bigger carbon footprint, requiring significant energy to transport, store, and refrigerate. Also, synthetic pesticides and extra wrapping may be necessary to keep the food fresh. Furthermore, if the food remains in storage and transportation for a long time, it might spoil soon after arriving. More than half of all food wastage occurs in the supply chain itself. It's best to use seasonal produce for meals. It's sustainable and, of course, delicious.
Manage portion sizes
If there are a lot of leftovers after every meal, then it’s time to take care of the portion sizes. Managing portion sizes will ensure there’s minimal food wastage. Don’t serve extra food unless people ask for it. Serve small portions at first, then let people help themselves.
Use chemical-free products to clean the dining table
Traditional cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that are bad for the environment. Instead, swap the conventional cleaning solution with eco-friendly options like soap nuts.
Let's get to paper towels, as often a napkin isn't enough to clean up a dinner table spill. Paper towels are created from wood pulp, which can be recycled paper, virgin wood pulp, or a blend of the two. Some companies produce 100% recyclable paper towels. However, recycling them often is not possible as the fibers are too fine. Nevertheless, you can make one significant change for a more sustainable dining room (and a zero-waste kitchen). Buy reusable paper towels, such as dishcloths. If it's too difficult to give up paper towels, don't forget to recycle the cardboard tubes.
The stylish Ornette 5-piece dining set doesn't take up a lot of room. The set's color contrast shows that the mid-century-inspired design incorporates aspects of industrial and rustic styles. The dining table has a natural brown wood table top that complements the finish of the chair backs and seats. The metallic chair and table frames are robust and in stylish matte black paint. The Ornette chair backs are gently bent to contour with the sitter, allowing hours of pleasant seating. The table and chair legs are attractively angled out, harkening back to the set's mid-century modern design influence. Most importantly, this dining room is eco-friendly.
It is made of flat woven chenille and features a striking bohemian-style diamond pattern. You can vacuum the rug without a beater bar, and it is easy to clean. This rug is pet friendly and can be washed in a machine and air-dried. The rug is not only durable but also eco-friendly.
We hope the above tips will prove helpful for creating a sustainable dining room. CasaOne offers a range of sustainable dining room products. Shop now for eco-friendly dining room products and go zero-waste!
Also read: Is Rattan The New Trendy Furniture Material?