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Bean Bag Chairs – Environmentally Friendly or Environmentally Hazardous?

July 23, 2015

Bean Bag Chairs – Environmentally Friendly or Environmentally Hazardous?

Are Bean Bag Chairs Safe for My Home?

When it comes to bean bag chairs it is tough to say that they are environmentally friendly. They are a manufactured product and as such they use energy to be produced and there are a lot of chemicals involved in the process. The biggest impact of a bean bag chair is in the fill. The fill is generally polystyrene beads or polyurethane foam. Both are manufactured products and highly chemical in nature.

In the case of the Jaxx Sacs, the fill type is shredded polyurethane foam. The manufacturer complies with California Technical Bulletin 117 which is the benchmark flammability standard for residential household furniture in the United States. This ensures that the foam meets the standards of TB 117 and is safe for household use – it has been tested against both the open flame test and the smoldering cigarette test to ensure it meets an acceptable standard.

It is good to know that the polyurethane foam meets flammability standards but there is often concern about the fire retardants used on the foam – do they off gas and affect the health of our families? Honestly, some do off gas and if you are sensitive to the chemicals it could affect you. There is no question that some manufacturers pay little attention to this type of thing. When you bring furniture into your home and cannot be in the same room due to the strong chemical odour, your furniture is off gassing. Does it affect your health on a long term basis? This is a hard question to answer and will be left up to the scientists to prove one way or the other.

Having said that, some bean bag manufacturers are better than others at making an effort to be environmentally responsible in the bean bag furniture they produce. They pay attention to where they source their materials from, they focus on their packaging and they think of the supply and distribution chain to attempt to make the least amount of impact possible on the environment. The manufacturer of the Jaxx Sacs & Loungers has made a considerable effort to lessen its impact on the environment and still make high quality, comfortable bean bag chairs at an affordable price.

The difference with the Jaxx Sacs & Loungers is the quality of their foam. They call their foam ECOFOAM. It is unique because it is ozone friendly, non-carcinogenic and is 100% repurposed foam saving the foam from filling landfills. Unused scraps of foam are collected from local furniture companies and are up-cycled into shredded foam of multi-density for use in the Jaxx Sacs bean bag chairs. By keeping it local, the manufacturer reduces fuel and transportation costs as an added benefit. The foam is compressed prior to shipping to save on packing materials and cardboard for boxes.

Other efforts to reduce their environmental footprint include sourcing eco-friendly fabrics, offering fabrics such as microsuede instead of animal skins and sourcing made in America fabrics like Cone Denim, the last American-made denim in the USA.

Outside of the chair itself, the manufacturer vacuum compresses the foam in a proprietary process that allows the foam to puff up quickly and resume its fluffy texture. Compressing the foam allows the boxes to be smaller. This saves on the use of cardboard, saves space in the delivery trucks, saves on shipping costs and decreases the overall carbon footprint of the bean bag chairs. Further to that, the boxes are made with recycled materials and are themselves 100% recyclable.

All of the Jaxx Sacs and Loungers are made in Atlanta, Georgia. The manufacturer is a member of the Sustainable Furnishing Council and is focused on using innovating technology and machinery to reduce waste and increase efficiencies through the manufacturing process. By using locally sourced products as much as possible and by decreasing the size of the boxes, the manufacturer is able to reduce the amount of transportation required, decreasing fuel costs and the overall impact of the bean bags on the environment.

So while it is not true to say that bean bag chairs are environmentally friendly, it is true to say that some bean bag manufacturers are making an effort to reduce their impact on the environment and to produce a bean bag that is healthy for the home and that has less of an impact on the environment. Supporting manufacturers that believe in high standards in their manufacturing processes; that believe in producing products that have a lesser impact on the environment; and that believe the world we live in needs protection is a step in the right direction. Having a product that is made North America is a rarity and is something that is deserving of our attention.

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