Let’s be honest. Trying to live a healthy, clean life is not easy.
We are under constant pressure to buy this and consume that. Fast food is everywhere. Highly processed foods are cheap and toothsome. Sugary drinks are offered in our schools and office buildings. It is hard to put up defenses and make a concerted effort to put the healthiest foods in our bodies. [Don’t get me wrong, I am not a 100% kind of person. I don’t think anyone can (or should) live on organic kale and water alone. Like most things in life, we need moderation.]
As difficult as it is providing our bodies with clean energy, we ultimately control what we put in our mouths. Our other major requirement for life, oxygen, is even harder to ensure it is healthy. Most of us do not live in a bubble or have “clean room” quality HEPA filters in our homes, work and automobiles. Simply going to the store or to a friend’s house can expose us to unquantifiable amounts of pollutants that enter our body through our lungs.
Luckily our bodies can tolerate some chemical exposure. While direct links of exposure to specific toxins and diseases are being documented in our medical community, the underlying truth is that sustained or increased exposure to chemicals does change our bodies and never in a good way (unless maybe you happen to be Spider-Man). We need to make a concerted effort to breath in the best quality air that we can.
While we cannot control what our politicians do or don’t do with our environment, we can control our homes which directly impacts the air we breath for large parts of our day. While there is much to think about and research regarding drywall, paints, flooring, HVAC filters, etc., it is also equally important to think about the items what we place in our homes.
In our global economy, home goods are shipped to and from every corner of the globe. While there are legitimate concerns about the energy required to move products, factory conditions for workers, fumigation of imported goods, etc, we want to point out that these products can have a direct impact on your indoor air quality and ultimately what you “consume” through breathing.
Furniture today is marketed by very clever people who categorize us all by demographics, income, psychographics, age and so on. They are able to drill down to their intended targets and snare us with keywords while wholly ignoring what the product consists of and how it will affect you with long-term exposure. While supporters of this approach simply brush it off as simply caveat emptor, this is disingenuous and dangerous. Like food, consumers have the right to know what goes into all products that they purchase so they can make an informed decision. Marketing information does not do this.
From the get-go, it is important to understand that most furniture produced today is part of an “economy of scale” industry. What is meant by this is manufacturers buy large quantities of raw materials which lowers their cost per unit. With this approach, the incentive is to sell volume since no one in their right mind would want a warehouse full of cheaper raw materials collecting dust. This volume approach leads to cost reductions by shaving a few cents here and there with raw materials costs. While we at Dapwood take no issue with using our resources in the most efficient way, in practice the outcome typically leads to cutting of corners. Or another way to think about it…if the business’ short-term measuring stick is lower costs which increase profits, what happens to long-term product safety and quality?
If you want to get a sense of this, go to any big-box store and take a good look at the furniture. Ask a salesperson (if you can find one) what is this furniture really made of? Is it marketed as “real wood”? What does the term “real wood” really mean since there is no agreed to definition of it? Is wood dust with glue considered “real wood”? Is it marketed as “solid wood”? Is this “solid wood” from hardwoods or softwoods? Or is it a veneer or simply a name of stain? You need to fully understand what you are purchasing because industrial products, more often than not, contain adhesives, binders, fillers, plasticizers, coloring and top-coats that off-gas over time into the air that we breathe.
At Dapwood we believe we have a better and healthier approach. Our ingredient list is simple:
- Natural, solid hardwoods straight from American managed forests
- Small amount of steel for structural integrity of joints
- A heavy dose of craftsmanship
That’s it. There is nothing else unless you would like to add an all-natural Linseed Oil finish to further protect and show off your wood’s natural beauty.
While we can never be the lowest price furniture around, those that search out bespoke quality, Dapwood is already an extreme value. But more importantly, when considering personal well-being, you need to ask yourself- what is your health worth?
While cities around the globe grapple with ways to reduce waste through the promotion of recycling, Dapwood Furniture is proud to say that as a long-time certified B-Corporation and members of Green America, the Sustainable Furnishing Council, and the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, we have all along been actively engaged in improving our community and planet through an aggressive recycling program.
Recycling must be more than an advertising slogan and/or public relation campaign, it must be in the DNA of business. Today’s environmentally responsible companies must be engineered around responsible management of one’s waste and manufacturing by-products. It must be more than simply paying a waste management firm to take care of it or dumping scrap in recycling bins. There is so much more can be done when a company takes a serious look at what it produces and institutes policies and procedures to minimize or eliminate waste.
For the past decade, Dapwood has refined its processes and engineered its products with the express purpose of eliminating any environmentally harmful waste- there are no VOCs, toxins or pollutants anywhere in our operation. In addition, nothing remaining from Dapwood’s crafting operations, ever finds it’s way into a waste site. Nothing! Ever!
All wood “fall-off” is sorted. Perfectly good but skinny pieces are glued together to make wider pieces. Shorter pieces are donated to community help centers and schools to be used by students in wood working projects. Local artists and craftsmen utilize Dapwood as a resource for their artistic efforts. Even our tiny cherry and oak wood scraps are sought out by local back yard barbequers and “smoke” enthusiasts for flavoring their cooked meats.
Dapwood like any woodworking operations generates a significant amount of sawdust and shavings in the crafting of our platform bed frames and accessories. We go through the process of painstakingly sorting sawdust by type of wood species since some woods are not suitable for all purposes. Dapwood has cultivated a unique network of gardeners and horse enthusiasts who regularly utilize the sawdust from our shop as it is prized for use in their passions- be it bedding for horse stalls and corrals or supplementing their gardening soil.
Native American philosophy reminds us that we should leave no footprints as we pass through the forest so our children and their children have a place to call home. Dapwood Furniture has always behaved this way and actively work to insure that we leave no stains for others to address.
No sooner than The Lumber Liquidators scandal of selling flooring with unsafe levels of formaldehyde is out of the news [CBS News, 60 Minutes March 1, 2015 ], do we hear that the very same Lumber Liquidators admits to the illegal importation (and false statements pertaining to) of wood from forests which are home to endangered species. On February 2, 2016, Bloomberg News reports that Lumber Liquidators has agreed to pay $13.15 million in fines and penalties in this matter.
In the words of Assistant Attorney General John Cruden of the Department of Justice Environmental and Natural Resource Division, “The case against Lumber Liquidators shows the true cost of turning a blind eye to the environmental laws that protect endangered wildlife”, and further, “this company left a trail of corrupt transactions and habitat destruction. Now they will pay a price for this callous and careless pursuit of profit”
These unfortunate and reprehensible practices once again brings to light the blatant disregard certain members of corporate America have for the well being of consumers and our planet’s natural resources in preference for profit and greed.
America needs to stand up and say enough. Companies that knowingly poison our homes with unsafe carcinogen levels and profiteer by raiding forests for cheap wood at the expense of wildlife habitat, have no place in America.
It is well within every American’s ability to put a stop to these crimes, resolving to do their share and take positive steps to correct this deplorable situation. Consumers and investors alike can simply boycott doing business with or purchasing the stock of environmental pirates like Lumber Liquidators, period. This decisive action is the quickest and most positive way to stop this behavior once and for all.
As a steward of the environment, Dapwood believes that for the sustainably of our planet and the good health of all Earth’s inhabitants, we all need to recognize that the only way to send a message that these immoral practices will not be tolerated is to refuse to buy the products of companies who continually defy our environment laws for the sake of ill gotten profit.
We ask that you join us in taking a stand.