Discover how to make sure your home is both cool and sustainable
Almost three years from its sudden beginning, it looks like the worst of the COVID pandemic is behind us. As we regain the ability to live our life like we used to, we cannot however forget the impact these years have had on our lives. The long lockdowns due to the pandemic has forced us to reconsider the interiors of our homes. The desire to beautify and renew the space in which we spend most of our time has led to a huge interest in renovation and decoration projects. At the same time, awareness of the ecological impact of our choices is prompting us to reconsider the idea of the disposable approach to home furnishings. A renewed amount of plastic and toxic waste is in fact generated every time a flat is updated to meet the needs of those living in it.
Although progress has been made, with sustainability certifications and furniture with wood from renewable forests, much remains to be done. So how do we reconcile the pressures of a society where social media such as Pinterest or Instagram project aspirations and styles onto households everywhere, shortening the average lifespan of an interior and inviting people to keep up with the look of their homes, with an obvious energy and ecological impact? An increasingly popular solution is to find impactful cosmetic solutions that give a space a strong aesthetic impact without having to renovate the furniture.
The desire for a fresh new look on our walls
When people talk about the ‘four walls’ of the house, they often think of their own home; however, although the expression is very common, it is precisely the walls that are often undervalued. A fresh coat of paint (environmentally friendly of course) can create a fresh feeling in your environment, bringing brightness and colour, removing stains and restoring the room to its original state. However, paint has obvious decorative limitations, being monochrome by nature. For solutions with a greater aesthetic impact, the alternative is wallpaper, whose variety in terms of materials and patterns is incomparably better.
Wallpaper is a decorative element that has gained more and more space among the interior decorator’s tools because of its relatively low price and its ability to create a certain atmosphere. Unfortunately, as is often the case in our increasingly globalised world, its success has led to an influx of dubious proposals from low-cost manufacturers. We must therefore be careful what we buy and avoid low-cost models that are produced with polluting industrial processes and contain a considerable percentage of plastic and are therefore not recyclable. If we care about the future of our planet, we must move towards sustainable alternatives that reduce waste by recycling materials once they are no longer needed.
The secret of compostable wallpaper
When it comes to ecological wallpaper, the first point of departure is the origin of the materials. Natural fibres are the cardinal point of a sustainable approach to decoration as they are less harmful to the environment, last longer and are more durable. Materials such as linen, bamboo and cotton are in fact much more breathable than artificial fibres. It is then necessary to assess where the materials come from. One of the first things to look for is the presence of the FSC certificate, which guarantees that the wood needed to produce the cellulose was grown responsibly and that the material in the wallpaper was obtained in an environmentally friendly and sustainable way.
Another point to consider is the production process. Normally, this requires the use of synthetic glues to bind the natural material together, making the entire product unsuitable to be placed in the compost bin at the end of its life cycle. Fortunately, technological developments have led to the creation of some eco-friendly wallpaper models that meet these requirements.
One of the first products in the world to overcome this hurdle is Veruso Lino, an innovative wallpaper created by a small designer wallpaper company based in Germany. This model is made from flax fibres, a plant that requires very little water to grow and is therefore perfect for regenerative agriculture. The flax is blended with natural viscose, consisting of textile fibres of natural origin obtained through a closed-loop production process from sustainable forestry.
The resulting wallpaper is of high quality, robust and pleasant to the touch. It is free of artificial dyes to ensure it is fully compostable and therefore presents a neutral and warm natural tone. Due to its nature, it is a relatively light wallpaper, but manages to provide high thermal insulation characteristics, as air is trapped inside the linen and viscose fibres. The thermal energy of the heated environment is therefore absorbed by the wallpaper. To ensure full compostability, only an environmentally friendly adhesive paste made of pure cellulose must be used during installation, and the wallpaper must not be coated with any non-organic products.