Friday, July 29, 2011

Why Leather – What is Good Leather?

The single most important factor in determining the quality of leather is the raw material, the hide. This is the same principle that you will find in cooking; the recipe is only as good as the ingredients.

The term “hide” refers to the skin covering of large animals; cows, steers, buffalo, etc. Most hides used in the manufacturing of upholstery are cow or steer hides. Upholstery requires large hides to minimize the number of seams. Less than ten percent of all hides harvested each year are suitable for upholstery. This is due to the size of unblemished pieces required to make upholstery. The balance of the hides are used for the garment industry. 

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Finding Environmentally Friendly Furniture – the Basics

Ah summertime…the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and everyone is outside playing. This season really makes us appreciate all Mother Nature has to offer us, and we want to make sure we do everything we can to keep our Earth healthy. There are so many manufacturers promising green, sustainable, eco-friendly products for your home. All of these terms suggest some level of environmental responsibility, but there are no concrete definitions for them yet.  If you are in the market for eco-friendly furniture and other home goods, you need to know what to look for so you know you are not being deceived.

Search for a product or manufacturer that is certified by a coalition promoting sustainable practices, like the Sustainable Furnishings Council
The goals of this council are to raise awareness of the importance of sustainability, help companies adopt eco-friendly practices, clear up false information in the industry, and assure customers that they are supporting companies that operate sustainably. As a founding member of the council, American Leather produces custom leather and fabric-covered furniture that meets the standards established by SFC. 

Environmentally-secured leather
Modern tanneries use closed-water systems and private water treatment plants to prevent the pollution of surrounding water supplies.  At American Leather, the dying process involves water-based products that are chrome-free and completely chemical free.  This prevents more toxic materials from entering your home and ultimately the atmosphere. Leather scraps are also recycled in producing small leather goods.

Pay attention to the furniture frame
Wood from American Leather comes from sustainable forests, and over two million pounds of leftover wood is recycled.  The glues used to bind the wood are chemical-free and do not release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

Recyclable Cushions
High-resiliency foam that is 100 percent free of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs,) helps to prevent ozone depletion.  Plus, when your sofa reaches the end of its lifetime, the cushions from American Leather furniture are recyclable.

Clearly, every part of the furniture needs to come from proper sources and be manufactured in the right way to be certified by the Sustainable Furnishings Council.  If environmentally friendly practices are important to you, you can find American Leather and other environmentally friendly manufacturers through the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

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