Skip to main content

Furniture Manufacturing | P2

This fact sheet outlines opportunities for furniture manufacturers to reduce their waste generation and toxic substance use in producing wood and metal furniture, upholstering and using coating and finishing.


Wood Furniture

Lay out sheet stock efficiently to use as much raw material as possible.

Maintain equipment regularly to prevent defects. When defects occur, identify them as early as possible to prevent additional waste of materials and labor | Learn More >

Investigate opportunities for dust to be reused in a secondary market. Promote reuse by segregating dust from soft and hard woods and avoid mixing dust with paint and varnish.

Research alternatives to formaldehyde-based resins in plywood or particleboard panels. Look for no-added formaldehyde (NAF) or ultra-low emitting formaldehyde (ULEF) resins | Learn More >

Metal Furniture

Research alternatives to hexavalent chromium for decorative chromium plating | Learn More >

Independent Plating, a metal finishing company, experienced improved product quality and faster processing times after implementing a tri-chrome plating process that reduced their hexavalent chromium use by 88 percent. Operating costs increased overall, but waste disposal costs were reduced and other costs are expected to drop over time | Learn More >

Reduce dragout of plating chemistry by lowering bath concentrations and improving drainage when withdrawing parts. Investigate opportunities to filter process wastewater and recover plating chemicals for reuse | Learn More >

Columbia Manufacturing, a school furniture manufacturer, saved $3 million in water and sewer fees and $4.65 million in chemical costs by modernizing its nickel-chrome plating line. It reclaims 98% of plating chemistry for reuse and no longer discharges industrial wastewater6 | Learn More >


Assess the toxicity of the flame retardants used in flexible polyurethane foam and substitute less toxic, less hazardous alternatives | Learn More >

Use hot melt, heat seal, or water-based adhesives which contain low or no solvent content. Use only as much adhesive as necessary.

Coating and Finishing

Research alternatives to traditional organic solventbased coatings that can reduce VOC emissions and wasted material | Learn More >

  • High-solids coatings contain more solids and less solvent.
  • Waterborne coatings use water as the carrier instead of organic solvents.
  • Powder coatings contain only solids, no solvent, and require specialized equipment to apply.
  • Radiation cured coatings can cure more quickly than traditional coatings.

Purchase and mix only as much coating as needed for each job . Reuse excess for touchups or as primer. Improve transfer efficiency with upgraded equipment | Learn More >

High-Volume/Low-Pressure (HVLP) spray guns can reduce overspray compared to conventional guns. Electrostatic application systems reduce wasted coating material by making the coating electrically attracted to the part.

Train employees in proper spray techniques that will maximize transfer efficiency | Learn More >

Keep a constant distance between the spray gun and the part. Hold the gun perpendicular to the part. Turn the spray gun off just before and after each pass. Take the time to do it right the first time rather than waste time and material refinishing. Replace aerosol cans for touchups with refillable, nonaerosol spray bottles if possible.

Use dedicated equipment for each coating or schedule coatings in batches to minimize clean-outs. When coatings do change, start with light colors and end with dark. Clean equipment with dirty solvent first, then fresh solvent. Determine whether spent solvent can be reclaimed and reused on site | Learn More >

Tightly close all containers of cleaning solvent when not in use.