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Recycled Materials Series: Metal

Recycling metal in the United States dates all the way back – in 1776 revolutionaries recycled to provide material to fight the War of Independence. Since then, recycling has gotten us through 2 World Wars, both of which sparked huge recycling efforts by citizens.  But supporting a war effort is not the only reason to recycle metal. The fact is that we can recycle and re-use our way to a cleaner Earth.


Since 1974, municipalities have offered curbside recycling (that number grew to about 1050 programs by 1988)!   Our communities make it easy to recycle! And metal has always topped the list when it comes to recyclable products. A lot of times, we can even earn a few bucks from scrap metal!


Most people already separate their soda cans from the trash and put bigger pieces of metal where they belong, so how can we go one step further?


Let’s turn to the household items that we use often and that we make a significant investment in…




Iron, aluminum, and stainless steel are common components of tables, chairs, and a number of kitchen appliances, and often it is recycled metal. Nowadays, the modern industrial look is in, which means consumers everywhere are looking for pipe furniture and other exposed metal options. Metal furniture is durable, long-lasting, and doesn’t require much maintenance. Many manufacturers even give their non-metal materials metal finishes to enhance the look. Chrome-plated, brass, and anodized finishes are popular.


With a whole slew of upholstery and cushion options, metal furniture has been transformed into a practical, trendy staple in modern homes, as well as on the street. Our mission: make sure you know household metal furniture is practical, trendy, and sustainable.


Here are two reasons you should opt for recycled metals in your furniture:


  1. It’s less expensive! Using recycled metal in furniture makes it less expensive for the manufacturer to produce, which in turn, makes it more affordable for you! Manufacturers can get recycled metals at a fraction of the cost of new material and there are a number of tax benefits in many states for using recycling machinery in manufacturing processes. Seek out manufacturers who use exclusively recycled metal. If you are a DIY enthusiast, check out flea markets and thrift stores for the chance to make old pieces truly your own!


  1. It’s better for the Earth! The energy savings alone from recycled metals is off the charts! The energy saved by recycling just one ton of metal is the equivalent of powering 20 million homes for 1 year! Making it out of recycled aluminum is 95% more energy efficient than starting with new material!  Reducing and reusing also prevents pollution caused by mining, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, sustains the environment for future generations, and reduces waste all together.


You can exercise a great deal of eco-responsibility when it comes to furniture by buying recycled and recycling what you buy! And we’re here to help!


The Sustainable Furnishings Council is a coalition of manufacturers, retailers and designers dedicated to raising awareness and expanding the adoption of environmentally sustainable practices across the home furnishings industry. Check out the finder on our website here

to locate furnishings made with recycled materials for any/every room in your home! Interested in becoming more involved with our coalition? Click here!