Certified Green by TINREY*

Although I will say I am getting a little tired of all the textile information, I really did find the article informative this week. I understand that textiles is not only a clear link between our interior design and apparel majors, but also a major factor in waste and water issues facing society. I really enjoyed learning about all the different methods of certification and think it is vital information. Everyone should have an education on what certifications are out there and what they mean. Everyone who shops, let alone designs, really needs to understand what these certifications’ mean and their levels. Much like posting calorie counts on take out menus, certification meanings could be made easily accessible to the products carrying their names. Educated shoppers will be able to make wiser choices.

In Bonda and Sosnowchik’s Sustainable Commercial Interiors, they discuss a number of certifications and describe their validity and scope. One I have recently become more aware of is a Cradle to Cradle certification. Since many people used the Cradle to Cradle website for finding products for the LOLA show, I was surprised at the question of its bias. The author’s mention that the director of the C2C certification often consults on the products they certify. They postulate this close relationship to products before certification could be seen a question as to the certification’s integrity. It is important, as professionals, to know the background of these certifications and not just be taken in by empty promises. If we are not aware of the legitimacy of a certified product and use in it a design, we put our own reputation at risk.

It seems like certifications are just as confusing and broad as the topic of sustainability in general.  I have also heard that some companies will develop ‘certifications’ for their products because it just sounds nice for something to be ‘certified’. They do that just to keep their products competitive, even if they are not even close to ‘green’. It’s a despicable part of greed. I think public education is a huge part of the battle for change. I haven’t heard of all the certifications mentioned in the article, and I’m sure as I get into the professional field I will learn of even more.

I think it will important for us as professionals to make sure we are still learning, and not to just assume anything. Many have made wrong assumptions about the benefit of natural fibers over synthetic. I think it was great to explore this more. It’s certainly going to take a little bit of both to balance the system. We when learned last week about fibers that were put back into the system to make more of the same, it struck me then the hidden benefit of synthetic fibers can play. It should never be one or the other, natural or synthetic. It needs to be a combination of both on the market, but not combing them both. Haha. Does that sound backwards? I think both natural and synthetic fibers can serve their place in the market and coexist as long as they remain separate from each other so they can be absorbed back into their own metabolism, as we discussed last week.

We are running out of class periods, so I’m not really sure what I want to learn next.  A lot of what I still want to learn are things I will only be able to learn from field experience. I’m glad we learned about the above mentioned things this week. I like to learn about what steps are being taking, what organizations or products, are trying to make a difference. I enjoy the ‘what’s new’ aspect of sustainable design. It’s very easy to get complacent with our efforts. It’s inspiring to see the effort of others and the impact they are having.

*TINREY (This Is Not Real, Educate Yourself) certification is affiliated with unicorns.

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