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Is rattan furniture sustainable?

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With Earth Day taking place on Thursday 22nd April and this year’s theme being ‘Restore our Earth’ we decided to look at the eco-friendly benefits of buying rattan furniture over other materials such as wood or plastic.  

This year’s theme – Restore our Earth not only reminds us of the harm that climate change is having on our planet but also looks at the rejection that we must adapt to the impact of climate change as the only option to combat the issue. Instead, we need to focus on natural system processes and emerging green technologies to restore the world’s ecosystem and rid our oceans of plastic waste.  

What makes rattan so sustainable?

Rattan, a tree climbing vine-like plant can only exist growing amongst established trees in the tropical terrains of Asia, Africa, and Australia and is harvested without interrupting the structure or balance of the rainforest. 

Typically used for furniture, the super vine not only benefits the rainforest but the atmosphere as well, converting CO2 into clean air. As a superior eco-friendly material, rattan has the ability to renew itself within five to seven years.  

The production of sustainable rattan not only ensures long-term supply of the material, but also acts as a safeguard for ecosystem processes, endangered animal habitats and the livelihood of rural communities that have become reliant on this plant. 

Compared to wood, rattan grows exceptionally quickly, at a rate of 2cm per day, this means the vine is fully grown and ready for harvest within two years – a process that can take up to 30 years when growing wood. Once harvested, the tip of the vine is re-planted so the plant can grow again and protect the forest from degradation.  

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How is rattan harvested?

Rattan is much easier to harvest than other types of wood and is done by hand using a few simple tools, leaving the surrounding rainforest intact. This is essential for the re-growth of rattan that needs other trees and plants to climb up and grow.  

The vine is cut into 13-foot lengths and left to dry in the sun without the use of industrial machinery. Once the drying process is complete the rattan is stored for seasoning and graded before being shipped to furniture manufacturers. The vine is remarkably flexible, an ideal property for making intricate designs for tables, chairs, and sofas.  

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Does rattan produce waste?

Unlike other materials that can produce a lot of waste during the manufacturing process, every part of the rattan vine is used to make durable, luxury furniture. The outer skin of the vine is peeled back and used for weaving items such as baskets, chair seats and tabletops while the solid core of the cane is cut into sections and steamed, making it easier to manipulate into shape. Containing nothing but recyclable fibres, rattan doesn’t emit harmful gases into the atmosphere, helping to reduce our carbon footprint. 

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Is rattan biodegradable?

Unlike synthetic furniture, natural rattan is 100% biodegradable meaning it will naturally decompose without causing harm to the environment. However, you should be mindful of any finishes that may have been applied to your furniture during the manufacturing process and make sure you dispose of any old or unwanted furniture at your local recycling centre.

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What is Desser and Co’s commitment to sourcing sustainable rattan?

At Desser and Co we take great care in sourcing all our natural, quality rattan in Indonesia, working closely with local factories and growers to protect its stunning landscape. Rattan farming provides a sustainable income to some of the poorest people living on the fringes of the forests, helping generate employment and build communities. 

So, you can buy Desser’s conservatory and wicker furniture knowing that it is produced in an ethical and sustainable way – we promote Fair Trade and follow a low carbon emission business plan. 

References: 

https://greatermekong.panda.org/our_solutions/projects/sustainablerattan/factsinformation/

https://www.thespruce.com/what-is-rattan-furniture-made-from-2736315

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