Environmentally Sustainable Furniture and Play Resources for Learning Environments
Considering long-term consequences of purchases for learning environments is important for more and more child care centres and early years classrooms.
It makes sense. Early years educators by vocation have a long-term perspective – caring for children is nurturing the future.
So to make it easier, we’ve assembled a collection of furnishings, play resources and educational tools that have been designed with long-term impacts in mind under the banner sustainable.
Sustainable can mean different things for different kinds of products for a childcare centre or early years classroom.
But always longevity is key to long term sustainability – there’s a reason why “reuse” and “reduce” comes before “recycle” in the “three r’s” of environmental stewardship. If you can continue to use your furniture or resources, you reduce how much is consumed and how much must go through energy intense recycling.
Really, Louise Kool has prioritized sustainability since our founding almost 60 years ago, long before any of us knew what “eco-friendly,” “environmentally considerate,” or “sustainable practices” meant.
Since our beginnings LKG has:
- Emphasized and tried to source products made from wood or predominately natural materials.
- Looked for timeless, more open-ended play resources and furniture. Pieces that will last generations, that aren’t faddish or feel dated in a few years.
- Carried many wood play resources and furniture that are unfinished or finished with vegetable based dyes and oils.
- Source wood furnishings that are not flat-packed from overseas but constructed in Canada and the US. Furniture made from wood like maple and red cedar is not only hard wearing but often harvested locally to the workshop.
- Look to high quality materials that will last over many generations. We’ve been told again and again that our products are pricey and people won’t buy for long-term value. But you, our customers have consistently proved to be thoughtful in your purchases considering long-term value and the impact on children’s future.
- Source more and more alternatives to plastic, that can still take lots of abuse from children, can be easily sanitized or even washed in dishwashers.
Some of these earth-friendly plastic alternatives include:
- BIOplastic made from sugarcane
- Eco Magnetic Polydron made from renewable plastic alternative derived from corn.
- Blue Marine Toys made from plastic derived from recycled marine gear: nets, trawls and ropes.
- Products made from 100% recycled plastic in North America.
In some cases colour uniformity is sacrificed because the manufacturer is committed to using every bit of leftover material. These manufacturers are committed to zero waste in their factories and the off-cuts, small bits and even dust, that usually ends in the garbage gets used for new products.
The trade-off is, sometimes, the end-product has a different shade of brown or the rake is green instead of blue like in our catalogue photograph, without sacrificing integrity or long term quality.
Explore the collection and if you have any suggestions for other sustainable products, you’d like to see, pleas send it to us.
- Bogdan Pospielovsky