Outdoor furniture is a great way to enjoy your patio, deck, garden, or outdoor space. Over the past several years, many patio furniture brands have made great strides in producing stylish and long-lasting, eco-friendly, and sustainable outdoor furniture. This article explains how outdoor furniture can be eco-friendly or sustainable and highlights some of the top brands making sustainable outdoor furniture.
What is sustainable or eco-friendly patio furniture?
Eco-friendly and sustainable patio furniture is patio furniture that has minimal or reduced negative environmental impacts in its production, use, and end-of-life. There are various ways that a piece of outdoor furniture can be sustainable, and we broadly categorize these ways into four categories: sourcing, manufacturing, recycling, and offsetting. These categories are further defined below.
4 ways patio furniture can be eco-friendly and sustainable
#1 Sustainably sourced materials
Patio furniture can be eco-friendly by the materials used to make the furniture. Typically, outdoor furniture can be sustainably sourced if the materials come from recycled materials or sustainably harvested sources (wood). Patio furniture can be made from a variety of sustainable materials.
The most common eco-friendly material you will find in patio furniture is recycled plastics. Many popular brands use plastics made from recycled plastic milk jugs, laundry detergent bottles, cartons, bottles, and other materials to make high-density polyethylene (HDPE), which is one of the most weather-resistant and highly durable plastics for outdoor use. Although not as common, you may find some furniture made with recycled aluminum or steel. And finally, you can find outdoor fabrics made from recycled materials, like recycled Olefin or polyester, to make cushion fabric.
For wood in patio furniture frames, many brands will use FSC-certified wood. FSC is a Forest Stewardship Council certification, which represents that wood was harvested from a sustainably managed forest or plantation. This FSC certification guarantees that the wood comes from well-managed forests that adhere to strict environmental and social standards. For many brands with wooden patio furniture, you will find FSC-certified teak, FSC-certified eucalyptus wood, and other FSC-certified popular wood types.
#2 Sustainable manufacturing processes
Sustainable manufacturing is the process of manufacturing products in a way that minimizes negative environmental impacts. Sustainable manufacturing is generally accomplished by conserving energy and water and reducing waste when the furniture is made.
There are a variety of ways that patio furniture can be sustainably manufactured. For example, some brands use solar power or source other renewable energy to run their factories, which reduces the amount of carbon emissions released into the atmosphere. Also, some brands focus on reducing water consumption or waste production. For example, solution-dyed fabrics like Sunbrella produce lower amounts of wastewater compared to traditional color processes for fabrics. Finally, some manufacturers will find ways to reduce the amount of packaging and other materials that are components of assembling and delivering your outdoor furniture.
#3 Recyclable patio furniture materials
Outdoor furniture can also be sustainable if the furniture or material can be recycled when the furniture reaches the end of its useful life. For example, Sunbrella has a “Recycle My Sunbrella” program through which you can ship your used Sunbrella fabric back to Sunbrella for the company to recycle the material for use in other applications. Additionally, some metals like aluminum are infinitely recyclable. So, instead of throwing out your outdoor furniture, you can turn in your aluminum or other metal outdoor furniture for it to be recycled.
#4 Environmental impact offsetting
Finally, in some shape or form, there will be some environmental impact when patio furniture is made, just like any other product, despite sustainable sourcing, manufacturing, and recycling processes. To account for what cannot be eliminated, some manufacturers and brands participate in programs to offset their carbon footprint, reduce deforestation of the world’s forests, invest in renewable projects, and other activities to negate negative environmental impacts.
19 Brands with Eco-Friendly and Sustainable Outdoor Furniture Options
If you are looking for eco-friendly outdoor furniture, also called sustainable outdoor furniture, then you need to look for furniture that is:
- Made from sustainably sourced, recycled, eco-friendly materials
- Made with sustainable manufacturing processes
- Recyclable when it has reached the end of its useful life
- The manufacturer participates in sustainable programs to offset negative environmental impacts
In some cases, you will find patio furniture and brands that fit all of these categories. In other cases, you will find furniture that may fit only one of these categories. What’s most important is ultimately up to you. Below we highlight many popular outdoor furniture brands and how their patio furniture is sustainable or eco-friendly.
- Outer is a brand dedicated to making sustainable outdoor furniture. Outer uses sustainable materials in all of its furniture pieces. For example, the company uses FSC-certified teak for its wooden furniture recycled plastics in its all-weather wicker. The company estimates that 99 recycled plastic bottles are used to produce one of its wicker chairs. Additionally, its Olefin fabric is highly sustainable as there is little waste made in producing this fabric, and it is highly recyclable.
- Additionally, the company is focused on the “circular” design of its furniture, meaning that the furniture is designed to be fully recycled at the end of its life instead of being thrown away. This is evident in the choice of highly recyclable materials like aluminum and Olefin fabric.
- Also, Outer has partnered with 1% For The Planet to support environmental non-profits and One Tree Planted to fight deforestation by planting trees.
Read our full review on Outer outdoor furniture.
- POLYWOOD is some of the most eco-friendly patio furniture that you will find on the market today. The HDPE material in POLYWOOD furniture comes from 99% recycled materials like milk jugs, detergent bottles, or other HDPE bottles and containers. The company states that it recycles, on average, 400,000 milk jugs and other plastic containers to make its outdoor furniture items.
- Not only is POLYWOOD furniture made from recycled materials, but POLYWOOD outdoor furniture can also be recycled when you feel it has reached the end of its useable life.
- The company also states that 99% of the materials used in the production of POLYWOOD furniture are recycled instead of ending up as waste.
- Neighbor is another direct-to-consumer outdoor furniture brand focused on providing sustainable patio furniture. Neighbor’s teak is FSC-certified, a Forest Stewardship Council certification, which means that wood was harvested from a sustainably managed forest or plantation.
- Neighbor uses Sunbrella fabric on its cushions, and Sunbrella is manufactured with sustainable practices by minimizing waste production, minimizing water usage, recycling materials, and using renewable energy sources.
- Both teak and Sunbrella fabric are materials that can be recycled when the furniture is no longer useful.
- Made Trade is a retailer fully dedicated to offering ethically and sustainably produced goods “that put our people and our planet first.” The company assesses each product they offer across its eight core values to verify that the product adheres to at least two of its core values for sustainability and equity. You can read more about Made Trade’s values and transparent process here.
- You will find several outdoor furniture options on Made Trade made from sustainably harvested hardwoods like teak. Additionally, other products are made from recycled plastics.
- Also, several patio furniture items feature Sunbrella fabric, which is made with sustainable manufacturing processes.
- Arhaus, like many other brands on this list, is a brand founded on sustainability. Arhaus notes that it partners with artisans that use “sustainably sourced, reclaimed, and recycled materials as much as possible.” For example, the company notes that the teak it uses in many of its outdoor collections is sustainably sourced.
- Additionally, many of the materials used in its patio furniture are recyclable. For example, Arhaus has several aluminum collections, and aluminum is a highly recyclable metal.
- Arhaus uses Sunbrella and Olefin fabrics, which are both sustainably produced materials that are highly recyclable.
- Loll Designs is a company that is seriously dedicated to making sustainable outdoor furniture. Loll Designs makes outdoor furniture that is sustainable through the materials it sources, manufacturing processes, recyclability of its furniture, and the environmental programs that the company participates in.
- All Loll outdoor furniture is made from HDPE plastic, which a portion comes from recycled HDPE containers like milk jugs and shampoo bottles. Additionally, Loll outdoor furniture is highly recyclable when it reaches its end of life because HDPE is a recyclable material.
- Loll Designs states that it recycles 88% of its manufacturing waste as it strives toward minimizing its environmental impact. Additionally, Loll Designs positively impacts the environment by donating 1% of its net annual revenues to 1% for the Planet, which is a global movement of organizations that contribute to environmental organizations.
- VivaTerra is a brand dedicated to sustainable and eco-friendly furniture and, in its own words, “is a retailer with a heart and a vision for both globally-inspired modern design and goods created with sustainability and integrity in mind.” You can read more about the mission and vision of Viva Terra here.
- Through Viva Terra, you will find many sustainably sourced outdoor furniture items and decor. Additionally, they offer many reclaimed patio furniture items, including teak wood furniture items.
- Also, some items on Viva Terra feature high-quality fabric from Sunbrella, which is known as an eco-friendly produced outdoor fabric that is highly weather resistant.
- If you are looking for a brand dedicated to producing sustainable outdoor furniture, Yardbird should definitely be one of the brands that you shop. Yardbird states that it used more than 200,000 lbs of intercepted ocean plastic in its outdoor furniture in the past year. In 2020, 64% of its wicker furniture was made from intercepted ocean plastic.
- Additionally, Yardbird uses Sunbrella fabric on all of its outdoor seating options, and Sunbrella is a brand that is dedicated to sustainable manufacturing processes.
- Yardbird also partners with carbonfund.org to offset 100% of its carbon footprint and implements sustainable manufacturing processes by reducing packaging material usage and using recycled materials in packaging.
- Pottery Barn is a retailer that is highly focused on providing sustainable and eco-friendly products for the whole home. Williams-Sonoma (Pottery Barn is part of the family of William-Sonoma brands) has been recognized for its sustainable efforts by being listed on Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies list for the past five years. Pottery Barn has a goal to have 100% carbon neutral operations emissions by 2025 and reduce its operations and energy emissions by 50% by 2030.
- All of the wood used in Pottery Barn’s outdoor furniture is made from FSC-certified wood. This means that you will find various FSC-certified teak, eucalyptus, and acacia wood patio furniture items across its outdoor collections.
- Additionally, you will find that you can choose Sunbrella fabric for many of Pottery Barn’s outdoor furniture items. Sunbrella fabric is made through sustainable manufacturing processes.
- Like Pottery Barn, West Elm is part of the Williams-Sonoma family of brands, and Williams-Sonoma has been recognized for its sustainable efforts by being listed on Barron’s 100 Most Sustainable U.S. Companies list for the past five years.
- West Elm notes that the company sources FSC-certified wood for its furniture and other recycled or upcycled materials wherever possible. Overall, the company states that 52% of its wood furniture is sustainably sourced.
- West Elm has aluminum patio furniture options, and aluminum is a highly recyclable material that can be recycled at the end of its useful life.
- Target is a popular destination to find a wide range of patio decor and furniture. Target sells patio furniture from many brands, including its own furniture brands, which include Threshold, Opalhouse, Project 62, and Room Essentials. Across these Target brands, you will find a variety of sustainable frame materials used to make patio furniture like aluminum and HDPE wicker and lumber (some Target branded items use POLYWOOD)
- Target has its own exclusive outdoor fabric called DuraSeason. This fabric is designed to be highly weather-resistant, and it is also eco-friendly because it is made from 100% recycled polyester.
- Target has established an extensive sustainability strategy and goals. For example, Target has a goal that by 2030 all leading raw materials that go into branded materials must be 100% recycled, regenerative, or sustainably sourced. Additionally, Target has a goal that 100% of its owned branded products will be designed for a circular future by 2040. You can read more about Target’s sustainability goals here.
Cozy Corner Patios
- Cozy Corner Patios has many high-quality outdoor wicker patio furniture sets made with HDPE wicker. As a result, Cozy Corner Patios furniture is highly-recyclable because HDPE is a recyclable material.
- Additionally, the company has some items made from aluminum. Aluminum is one of the most durable and weather-resistant materials for outdoor furniture, but it is also highly recyclable.
- Finally, all of Cozy Corner Patios’ furniture uses Sunbrella fabric, which is made with many sustainable manufacturing processes to create one of the best all-weather outdoor fabrics.
- RST Brands produces many high-quality outdoor furniture pieces made from HDPE plastic (mainly for its wicker items) and aluminum. These two materials are eco-friendly materials because they are highly recyclable.
- The majority of the fabric on RST Brands furniture is either Sunbrella or Olefin. These two materials are sustainably made and can be recycled at the end of their life for future uses.
- You will also find that RST Brands has some furniture made from acacia wood. The company notes that this wood is sustainably harvested.
- All of SunHaven’s wicker patio furniture is made from HDPE wicker, a highly recyclable material.
- Additionally, the majority of the frames on SunHaven furniture are powder-coated aluminum. Aluminum is one of the most durable and weather-resistant materials for outdoor furniture, and it is also a highly recyclable material.
- The fabric on SunHaven furniture is either Sunbrella or Olefin. These fabrics are made with sustainable manufacturing processes and can be recycled when the fabric has reached the end of its useful life.
Read our full SunHaven outdoor furniture review.
- Frontgate is known for producing high-quality outdoor furniture. One of the high-quality materials that Frontgate uses is the very durable and weather-resistant teak. The company notes that the teak used in Frontgate’s furniture is sustainably sourced.
- Also, you will find some outdoor collections use aluminum as the primary frame material. Aluminum is an eco-friendly material because it is highly recyclable.
- Finally, you will find that you can find some patio furniture from Frontgate that uses Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella is known for using sustainable manufacturing processes, and the fabric itself is recyclable.
Harbour Outdoor (Harbour)
- Harbour has a wide range of high-quality and premium outdoor furniture to shop. From a premium brand, you should expect high-quality materials, and that is what you get with Harbour. One such material is the handcrafted teak that they state is sustainably grown and responsibly managed.
- On many Harbour Outdoor furniture items, you will find either Olefin or Sunbrella fabric as the main fabric. These materials are both sustainably made fabrics that can be recycled at the end of their life.
- Another material that you will find on many Harbour furniture items is aluminum. Aluminum is a great outdoor furniture material because it is one of the most durable materials and very weather-resistant. Also, aluminum is eco-friendly because it is infinitely recyclable.
Crate and Barrel
- You will find that Crate and Barrel has many sustainable outdoor options. One of the main ways that Crate and Barrel has eco-friendly patio furniture is that their wooden outdoor furniture is FSC-certified, meaning that the wood was responsibly managed and sustainably harvested.
- Additionally, Crate and Barrel has aluminum patio furniture options, and aluminum is a sustainable material because it is infinitely recyclable.
- Finally, many of Crate and Barrel’s outdoor items feature Sunbrella fabric. Sunbrella gets high marks as a sustainable fabric because of the sustainable manufacturing used to make the fabric and the ability to recycle the fabric instead of disposing of the fabric in traditional waste.
Design Within Reach
- Design Within Reach (DWR) states that it “is committed to conserving, protecting and restoring natural resources” by sourcing wood that has been responsibly managed. As such, you will find some products, for example, made from sustainably harvested teak wood.
- Additionally, you can find outdoor furniture made from aluminum, which is an infinitely recyclable material. Additionally, there are furniture items made from recycled HDPE plastic.
- Also, many of their furniture items offer cushions with Sunbrella fabric, which is manufactured with sustainable manufacturing practices to reduce waste generated in making the fabric.
- Joybird offers mid-century modern outdoor furniture, which may be the perfect fit for the style of your outdoor space. In their outdoor furniture, you will find some sustainable materials like aluminum, which is infinitely recyclable.
- Joybird contributes to the One Tree Planted program to support reforestation and restoration programs in North America through each customer’s order.