1 Cup of Love

1 Tbls of Creativity

A Dash of Eco-friendliness

Servings: The Whole Universe

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Furniture Made Out of Recycled Paper?! Say What??


Yep!  You read correctly.  Shocking I know! But definitely one I am very pleased with!  You may remember in a previous post for Andrik's 1st green birthday that I was planning to purchase a toy storage unit for Andrik from a wonderful company called Way Basics.  

Well I finally have an opportunity to write my personal review about the gift we got our son for his 1st birthday.  Thanks to family and friends who donated money towards ECHOage - which part of the donations went to a charity for kids with cancer who get the chance to go camping with their families (while at the same time can receive the medical care they need) and part of the donations went to one gift for Andrik.  Well we didn't want him getting too many gifts or clothes (God knows he's got enough clothes to last until he's 4 years old and they still keep coming - thanks to all the hand-me-downs from family and friends)!  So we decided that getting him one meaningful gift that could last a long time would be the "greenest" choice.  We decided on a toy storage unit (several of them actually).  

So I'm sure you're wondering if furniture made out of recycled paper is sturdy enough?  I know, so was I.  After doing extensive research on several different wood furniture products out there, Way Basics was the only one that was reasonably priced that was not made out of wood that had formaldehyde in it!  And I was very impressed with what I was discovering about their product and was curious to see if it actually was sturdy enough.  I mean come on, we're talking about paper here!

After reading through their website and learning about Their Story, I was sold.  Their Human Friendly and Earth Friendly ethics is what lured me in.  Remember the part I mentioned above about a reasonably priced storage unit that was not made of wood with formaldehyde in it?  Well read on - I've copied and pasted a portion of their story (highlighted in green).

What does it mean to be completely human friendly and earth friendly?  At Way Basics, we believe that it means being completely safe for your family and the environment.  There is nothing more important than the health of our families, so we’ve made a commitment to providing storage and furniture solutions completely devoid of the chemicals that you commonly find in other products.  Formaldehyde and VOCs are the two biggest culprits in traditionally made furniture, yet these types of products can be found in almost any home, and in any room.  Formaldehyde is used as a binding agent in wood engineered products such as particle board or MDF.  Under normal everyday conditions, products containing formaldehyde will undergo “off-gassing” which means that the formaldehyde will evaporate out of the wood and into your home.  Formaldehyde is recognized as a toxic substance and not safe for your family.  VOC stands for Volatile Organic Compound and in the world of furniture is used most commonly in reference to paint.  You will never find either of these substances in Way Basics furniture…EVER!

Wanna know the details of what you will find in Way Basics furniture!?  It’s made of 99% post consumer recycled paper, which allows our products to be light, yet provide superior strength and durability.  The remaining 1% is devoted to the paper veneer which provides the finish on our boards.  With this paper veneer, we are able to print toxic-free ink directly on the boards, which is then absorbed into the paper.  This allows us to avoid the use of paint. 

You won’t find any mysterious chemicals in our products because we simply believe that being human friendly and Earth friendly, is just the right thing to do.  We empower our community with the ability to make more sustainable choices because that’s what we care about most.  Sustainable living is instrumental, fundamental, and absolutely essential in preserving the long term health of our families and our planet.

Now it just doesn't get any better than that!  Well...ok also Their "No Waste, No Rules, No Tools" Assembly was another big plus!  After talking to one of their reps, David (whom by the way is the guy demonstrating how to assemble the zBoards on the videos and whom was gracious enough to put up with my constant calls and inquiries - bless his soul for that one!), I was completely 100% sold and couldn't wait to try them out.  Their belief system is everything that we believe in.  And anything that doesn't entail tools to assemble gets a thumbs up in my book.  Hey, give me a break!  I've got other things to tend to then trying to figure out how to assemble furniture - like tending to my family and 2 blogs!  Alright, alright, so my husband would've been the one to assemble it if there were tools involved but hey, now he didn't have to!  So there! ;o)

So the day had come and the toy storage cubes had finally arrived!  And boy was I very pleasantly surprised!  Not only was the material very sturdy but it was VERY easy to assemble! Ok so I had my step-dad, Rick who helped me but that was ONLY because they were in town staying with us and I was in the middle of working so could only do so many things at once.  I may be a multi-tasking mama but I had my "Clark Kent" job to focus on.  Plus, Rick was willing to help so I could surprise the hubby when he got home.  :o)

And yes everything they said about the recycled paper furniture was true!  The quality was very well made.  My family was also impressed with the quality.  It truly felt like wood! And there was absolutely no waste.  The paper for the adhesive tape was the only thing that had to be recycled. 

One of the best things about the cubes is that it can grow with our son.  When Andrik is older, he can use the cubes to put his school books, clothes, or basically whatever he wants in there.  I also decided to choose neutral colors (3 espresso cubes and 3 natural cubes) so that it wasn't anything too flashy that when he does grow up, they are colors that match well with anything.  But because the color were so neutral, I wanted to give them more pizzazz by decorating them with eco-friendly fabric stickers (which will be discussed in another post).  But just so you know, the cubes come in a variety of colors besides espresso and natural (in case you want the actual cubes to be more colorful).  They also come in white, pink, blue, green, orange, and black.

So now that I had the cubes, I also needed some bins to put Andrik's toys in.  Unfortunately at the time that I purchased the cubes, Way Basics didn't have any cute Cozy Cube Bins like they do now.  But when I was inquiring about purchasing the cubes, David did suggest purchasing ClosetMaid fabric closet drawers on Amazon.  I also had to make sure the measurements matched the measurements of the cubes.  They were close enough (11"H x 10.5"W x 10.5"D) - just a slightly smaller but I have no complaints.  But do take note that the Cozy Cube Bins measurements are 11" H x 11" W x 11"D and are more expensive but definitely in cuter colors than what I've seen on Amazon for ClosetMaid.  I plan to purchase a couple of the Cozy Cube Bins that's for sure!

So after several months of using this product, Way Basics gets 6 thumbs up from this happy family!  Not only are they human and earth friendly, they are also located in Irvine, California which is local to where I live (so the carbon footprint isn't much).  And wait, it gets better!  They also contribute to those in need.  So whenever a potential customer buys Way Basics furniture, we as the consumer are helping to improve the world in other ways too!  Way Basics works with furniture banks around the country to help families in desperate need (i.e. victims of natural disasters who've lost everything they owned, women and children escaping from domestic violence, working families below the poverty line, etc).  Now that right there fully warmed my heart!  Just writing this post makes me want to purchase more cubes from them (well once we get a bigger place, I will).  To get even more inspired, read more about Their Story.

So when it came to planning and celebrating Andrik's 1st Green Birthday, I really felt good inside knowing that the one birthday gift we got him had a multitude of green benefits.  A big thank you to family and friends to contributing to Andrik's birthday gift and a gargantuan thank you to all the green companies for existing and inspiring our family to continue on this sustainable path!  This brings new meaning to the age-old saying: "the grass is always greener on the other side"...