Kathmandu With the air pollution level of Kathmandu Valley increasing at an alarming rate, people are becoming increasingly aware about environment degradation and the importance of becoming eco-friendly. But when it comes to our homes, the case is not the same. “The presence of eco-friendly furniture in the Nepali market is not great. However, we cannot ignore the fact that the awareness to use eco-friendly furniture among furniture manufacturers and importers is developing gradually. Awareness regarding the use of environment-friendly furniture is gradually increasing among furniture buyers too. However, we need to flow more information regarding environment-friendly furniture products and the health benefits a person can get while using eco-friendly furniture,” says Sudarshan N Joshi, Managing Director of SN Joshi & Sons Company. SB Furniture, Nepal, the sole authorised distributor of SB Furniture, Thailand, boasts products that are E1 European Standard Class 1- Low Formaldehyde Furniture, an international certification for environment-friendly furniture products. Depending upon the product design and category, the price of their products start from Rs 8,000. “We only use environment-friendly materials to ensure that all the items we bring to consumers are safe. We use E1 wood that has low formaldehyde content. So there is an assurance in every product that there are no harmful chemicals that may cause allergies and foul odour,” he adds.
Though market is sluggish for such pieces now, manufacturers are hopeful“When we started in 2000, we started the company with the idea of introducing environment-friendly products into the Nepali market; but we weren’t successful at it and had to diversify our product range. People did not understand the concept of eco-friendly furniture then, and they still are very new to it,” said Chatra Magar, Account Officer at Himalayan Bamboo. A producer of bamboo and wood composite furniture manufactured in Nepal, the price range of products at Himalayan Bamboo range from Rs 7,500 to 3 lakhs. Shankhar Rana, Co-Founder and Operations Director of Green Bamboo Creation, said, “With the recent increased awareness towards environment degradation and the upsurge of using eco-friendly products, there is a slow rise in demand for our products. However, people mostly purchase our furniture not for environment purposes but because our products are more appealing to the eyes. The concept of eco-friendly products has not yet established itself in our market. When it comes to eco-friendly furniture, what is understood is bamboo and wicker furniture.” With a factory based in Hetauda, and raw materials coming in from Jhapa, the price of the products at Green Bamboo Creation range from Rs 1,200 to 35,000. “Our prices are competitive when compared to Chinese products that make up most of the market,” adds Rana. He also says that most of their products are used for commercial purposes rather than residential buildings. Despite having a negligible presence in the market, furniture manufacturers and importers are optimistic for a turn of events. “The Nepali market is always moving forward and taking in good ideas and products introduced in the market. And as eco-friendly products are mainly linked with good health, I think the Nepali market will grow accordingly and is quite approachable to new and better ideas of using eco-friendly products,” adds Joshi.