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Ask Now Buy Later


We are still very pleased with the sofa we bought on Gumtree that we told you about a couple of weeks ago but it has got us thinking further about fast fashion furniture.

Sustainable clothing is a way of life for us, and we want sustainable furniture too.

When it comes to buying anything for our home, whether it's furniture, flooring, windows or paint we definitely need to ask questions. Let's concentrate on furniture for now.


The first question- as always - is

  • do I need this new item

  • or do I already have something that maybe just needs a bit of TLC

The second question then has to be

  • can I buy it second hand

If you decide you need to buy it new, ask yourself

  • can I buy it locally


Transportation costs add hugely to the carbon footprint of anything we buy. If something is imported, there's going to be a big carbon cost. Buying local not only cuts emissions, it also supports the local economy.

What else do we need to know?

  • what is our proposed purchase made of

  • if it's wood, was the wood harvested from responsibly managed forest

  • does the manufacturer have a Social Equity Code of Conduct

  • does the manufacturer have an energy use reduction plan?

  • does the manufacturer practice fair trade, meaning they don't damage local communities or undermine sensitive environments

You should be able to find the answers to all these questions easily enough.


As with clothing, it makes sense to buy the best you can afford at the time so your furniture doesn't have to be replaced frequently.

Durability is an important part of sustainability so whenever possible we want something with a long lifespan.

If you are buying something new it should arrive as a part of a multi-drop delivery route.

That's going to reduce the number of miles travelled and is well worth you waiting a little longer for something to arrive. But if you are buying second hand and arranging your own transport, it is worth asking your courier if they can deliver your item as part of a well-planned route. Better than hiring a van to drive many miles with just one piece of furniture in it, no?


We are aware that many companies promise that they work in a sustainable, environmentally-friendly way, but are we sure we are getting the whole truth?

It is always worth asking a few questions. Not just to satisfy yourself that you have done all you can do, but to keep these companies on their toes. Especially those who are issuing a bland statement but not actually backing it up.

More questions you may wish to ask

  • will my new piece be wrapped in unnecessary plastic

  • if a company offers to take away the old item that is being replaced (at a price) what do they do with it? Recycle what they can or just dump it in landfill? You need to ask

The important thing to remember here is that, as consumers, the power is in our hands. If enough of us hold companies to account, and refuse to buy from those who we feel do not care enough about the environment, you can be sure that they will have a re-think.

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Gate Church International 
158 Perth Road 
Dundee DD1 4JA

01382 221222

Gate Church International SCIO is a charity registered in Scotland.
Charity Registration No. SC003542