Many traditional office and school furniture products contain harmful chemicals in the adhesives, finishes, foams, fabrics and other materials that impacts indoor air quality. They may also use a large amount of virgin resources, from wood to plastics. As the industry has matured, it is now easier to ask for and find greener alternatives that are comparable on performance, style, and price. Many manufacturers of commercial and institutional furniture are actively competing on environmental and health attributes for their products.
The Operational Services Division’s Environmentally Preferable Products Procurement (EPP) Program has worked with existing vendors to identify environmentally preferable “lines” of furniture on Statewide Contract OFF38: Office, School and Library Furniture, Accessories & Installation that have reduced indoor air quality emissions and toxicity:
- Finding EPP Furniture on Statewide Contract OFF38: Office, School and Library Furniture, Accessories & Services :this is a two page summary description of the OFF38 EPP Furniture Table.
- Guidance for Environmental Preferable Furniture: Review of Chemicals of Concern and Certifications & Standards, August 2016: includes a summary of chemicals of concern typically used in the furniture industry, and a list of some of the certifications and standards that have been used to measure environmental performance of furniture.
- OFF38 EPP Furniture Table, 7/1/2016: searchable list of furniture lines from existing OFF38 Vendor offerings which notes whether the products meet environmentally preferable criteria, including those for indoor air quality. All information in the table was submitted by the vendors and has not been verified by the Commonwealth of MA. Buyers should confirm with the vendor all environmental specifications prior to purchase and should discuss how the vendor will provide evidence of conformance. This table is meant solely as a guide to help buyers identify environmentally preferable options and is current as of 7/1/2016.
- Contract User Guide for OFF38: Office, School and Library Furniture, Accessories & Installation : includes summary of all components of the statewide contract.
Additional EPP Furniture Resources:
RPN is an international network of buyers dedicated to socially responsible and environmentally sustainable purchasing.
CEH is a national non-profit that works with communities, consumers, workers, government, and the private sector to support projects and policy advocating for less toxic and safer environments.
- Kicking Toxic Chemicals Out of the Office: An Easy Guide to Going Flame Retardant-Free
- Healthier Furniture: A Guide for Purchasing Furniture Free of Hazardous Handful Chemicals
Practice Greenhealth is a membership and networking organization for organizations in the healthcare community that have made a commitment to sustainable, environmentally preferable practices.