Raw Materials and sustainability

Conscious living for every interior

Since 1998, recycling and salvaging old objects to give them a new life is in our DNA. We realize that sustainability goes further than just trying to minimize any damage to the environment. Therefore, we try to be conscious about the impact we create in every step of the production & logistical process, all the way to the final consumer. In the end, everyone can make a choice NOT to buy a product that's made in a non-responsible way. We therefore want to share how we work, and what Raw Materials stands for.

Pile of chairs - Raw Materials uses sustainable materials for their furniture

CONSCIOUS ABOUT THE RAW MATERIALS WE USE

For our collections we love to work with recycled and natural materials. Many of the items we sell are made from wood, we therefore consciously consider the source of the wood we use. We work with recycled wood, FSC certified wood, or wood from sustainably managed plantations.

Some years ago we supported a young entrepreneur in India to start his own company, making furniture and decoration items with wood that is recycled from old houses & factories. Together we developed our collections: Factory, Elements, Scrapwood and Farmwood. Following, we assisted this production company in obtaining FSC-certification, which guarantees that the whole process from sourcing of the wood to the final product is 100% FSC-recycled wood. We can now proudly say that Raw Materials is one of the few companies in the European interior sector that also became FSC-certified. All the above-mentioned collections will therefore carry the widely known FSC-logo on the products and the packing!

Where available, we use recycled wood for our collections. In other cases, we work with wood from sustainably managed plantations. In Indonesia, the teak and white cedar wood we use for Loft, Nova and Craftsman collections comes from plantations that are sustainable managed by the government. These wood types do not grow in the primary forests, and its economical use brings no damage to tropical rainforests. Since 2016 the Indonesian government has regulated all timber trade under the FLEGT system, from cutting down trees to export of all goods made from wood. All wood used by Raw Materials is imported and certified as Legal Wood (V-Legal).

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Conscious about heritage & craftmanship

Raw Materials has an extensive selection of unique vintage furniture & accessories. The appreciation for old traditions, fine arts, and wonderful carvings is what started this company and for years we are well-known for our unique interior treasures.

We love the rough beauty of the old cabinets, chests, and old doors because of the stories they tell. You can often see different layers of paint and the beautiful patina that has been created by years and years of intensive use.

All the items we find during our buying trips are kept as original as possible. We clean them, and do minimal repairs where needed, but the heritage of the object should remain visible and respected.

Our mission is to pass on our unique vintage pieces to new homes where their heritage hopefully will be admired for years to come.

Vintage bowl with accessories
Handmade rattan lamp shades by local craftsmen

Conscious about our social responsibility

Raw Materials works with small to medium-sized companies. Machines and tools are used to standardize production and make larger quantities possible, but in almost every Raw Materials item the highly trained skills of a carpenter, weaver or welder are required to give each product its own character.

The buyers and designers of Raw Materials visit all worksites of its partners regularly. We work out the designs of the new collections, we source the right materials, and we also check if the working conditions are safe. We only want to work with companies, if they are responsible employers. We ask as many questions as needed to get a full picture of the conditions how our products are made. When we see scope for further improvements, we provide advice: from waste recovery to ventilation, from working hours to credit schemes for the workers.  

With most of our partners we work for many years and new companies are always visited before we start production with them. We believe working with these companies will help them to grow sustainably and to compete in an ever-changing world, whilst generating an income for local craftspeople and their families.

Conscious about our footprint

The ecological footprint we make as a company goes beyond the raw materials we use. In every production process, there are rest or waste materials. All wood that remains after production is used for other purposes. If pieces are large enough, small decoration items are made, like our wooden letters. Sawdust and the smallest pieces are also collected used as a fuel for heating up the drying kilns, where the wood is dried to get the moisture level down.

A part of our product range is made solely from waste material. This allows us to use repaired goods that would have otherwise been thrown away into scrapyards and landfill, to now be given a new functionality.

After production is completed we are packing our goods with recyclable carton. We are constantly looking for ways to minimize the use of plastics in packaging. For example, for our webshop we are using recycled paper sheets in the carton boxes instead of the often used synthetic foams.

The goods are shipped from Asia to Europe with full containers, by large container ships. These container ships run on heavy fuel oil and in total make a significant contribution to global CO2 emissions. However, the ships are so large that on average more than 10,000 containers are shipped on one boat. As a result, container transport is relatively efficient. Container transport is regarded as much less harmful to the environment than air freight, but also as road transport over much shorter distances. By also ensuring that each container is fully packed, the ecological footprint of each item shipped is kept as low as possible.

Conscious about our customers

Our customers are conscious about their footprint too! They realize that the size of their footprint is not only the result of what they do, but also by what products they buy.

We all want to make our home cozy and buying beautiful interior products, but we also want to feel good about our purchase and about how it’s made. That's why we want to show you the story behind our brand, to be transparent about the way we manufacture our collections.

From the source of the raw materials, to your living room: our goal is to bring conscious living into every interior!