September 16th, 2010 by Peggy Farabaugh
We've been working hard to raise awareness about where your furniture comes from and how it is made. Part of our founding mission at Vermont Woods Studios is forest conservation and we've focused much of our attention on preservation of the world's rapidly disappearing rainforests.
Did you know that up to 90% of the furniture you see in American furniture stores today is made with wood that has been illegally clear cut from the rainforest? In fact the rainforest is being logged at a rate of about 1 football field per second to satisfy the world's insatiable demand for cheap furniture and flooring.
Hard to believe isn't it? But sadly it's true and along with loss of the forest we are losing many species of plants and animals. Scientists estimate we lose over 100 species every day just due to rainforest destruction.
Well, I guess our efforts (and those of many others) to protect the rainforest are beginning to have an effect because China and other overseas manufacturering hubs are beginning to find additional sources of lumber. Guess where they are getting enormous supplies of wood?
Would you believe Vermont? Yes and other places across the USA and Canada. So here's how it goes: logs are shipped from the USA to China. They are fashioned into low quality furniture by workers making about 20 cents/hour. Then the furniture is shipped back to America for sale where it will hold up for about 3-5 years before it's placed out on the curbside. Does that sound crazy to you? I guess that's what they call globalization.
But there are still many small furniture makers in the USA who are fighting to maintain our 200+ year traditions of craftsmanship, style and quality. Check them out before you head to Ashley Furniture or Bob's Discount. You'll pay more up front but in the long run you'll save big time, buying high quality American made furniture that will be in your family for generations.