Your desk. Maybe it’s a love/hate relationship. A place where both productivity and procrastination happen. Whether you like it storied and aged or modern and sleek, your desk speaks volumes about you as a person. A factor that speaks the loudest? Sustainability.
Your furniture should be with you for a long time – it’s a massive investment. One that is made sustainably with eco-friendly materials tells a story about you as a conscious consumer who cares about the planet.
Durability ensures it stays out of the landfill and has enough time to get worn in just the right ways to be left as an heirloom piece for the next generation. Regenerative materials mean that the timber comes from forests that are ethically managed. Finishes free of volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) means that your home or office’s air remains clean.
We know – lots to consider! The good news is that we’re breaking down how to find the perfect planet-friendly desk and the sustainable office furniture brands that are making them.
A Quick Look At The Best Sustainable Desks
- Best for standing: Uplift Desk: V2 Standing Desk | Skip to review
- Best for luxury: Herman Miller: Sit-to-Stand Desk | Skip to review
- Best for a meeting: Branch Furniture: Six Person Desk | Skip to review
- Most certified: Masaya: Casares Desk | Skip to review
- Most compact: Hoek Home: The Desk | Skip to review
How We Choose These Eco-Friendly Desks
How did we choose these eco-friendly bearers of important paperwork and endless coffees? We took into consideration several key factors.
By keeping these elements in mind, we could select desks that are not only functional and attractive but also kind to our planet. They include transparent manufacturing practices, local sourcing, renewable and responsibly forested timber, durability, and, of course, they have to look good!
Full List of Sustainable Wood Desks
Uplift Desk: V2 Standing Desk
- Sustainability: FSC Certified
- Price Point: $$
Uplift stays true to its brand name and the planet with its functional and eco-friendly V2 Standing Desk.
This eco-friendly standing desk hits many of our sustainable must-haves: a 15-year warranty means it will stay out of the landfill, the eco desktops are made with locally sourced, high-grade MDF (medium density fiberboard) from 100% recycled materials, certified by the Forestry Stewardship Council and one of their many material options is the world’s fastest-growing plant – Moso bamboo. This regenerative material requires less energy to harvest and is highly replenishable!
Not only are the materials eco friendly, the company is going the extra mile to steward over natural resources. They plant five new trees in U.S. National Forests for every solid wood desktop sold. By partnering with the National Forest Foundation, they are able to plant several thousand new trees each year!
This desk also does good for human health. The UPLIFT Desk Bluetooth Adapter pairs with the UPLIFT Desk App, which helps set convenient sitting and standing reminders daily standing goals, allows you to track progress, raise and lower your desk, and save your favorite sitting and standing heights to raise or lower your desk.
Herman Miller: Sit-to-Stand Desk
- Sustainability: GreenGuard Certification, EPA SmartWay Excellence Award, FSC Certified, and rePurpose Program.
- Price Point: $$$$
Bringing up the luxury end of our eco-friendly desks is the Renew Sit-To-Stand Desk by Herman Miller. This versatile desk is an eco-friendly product that reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability.
The desk is crafted with materials such as ash veneer or walnut veneer with die-cast aluminum legs with a polished or powder-coated finish, an electric motor (for easy movement), and non-slip rubber feet. The choice of materials ensures durability and longevity, reducing the need for replacement and minimizing waste!
As a company, Herman Miller follows a holistic approach to sustainability, aiming to create a better world through innovative design, community service, and recognized standards for environmental quality and corporate responsibility. Whew! That’s impressive.
The company has received a GreenGuard Certification for low-emitting products and received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Excellence Award for its leadership in freight supply chain environmental performance and energy efficiency.
Finally, their rePurpose Program gives new life to used products, diverting up to 98% of products from landfills.
Branch Furniture: Six Person Desk
- Sustainability: Upcycled and recyclable materials, an excellent ‘take back’ program, and durable design.
- Price Point: $$$
Sometimes, you need a desk that fits more than just your computer! Enter Branch Furniture’s Six Person Desk, roomy enough for you to hold a power meeting in eco style.
Known for its commitment to sustainability, this company has incorporated several eco-friendly features into its Six Person Desk, avoiding the ‘fast furniture’ pitfalls of cheap veneers and shabby craftsmanship and instead aiming to create durable, long-lasting products that reduce waste.
They’ve committed to using 60% recycled material and that at least 90% of the total materials are recyclable after use!
In terms of flexibility and a commitment to the quality of their products to not become landfill filler, Branch offers a trade-in program, allowing customers to exchange their old Branch furniture for newer models. This not only promotes adaptability but also helps ensure that their products are reused or recycled properly.
Masaya: Casares Desk
- Sustainability: Seed to Seat Program, biomass converted to sustainable energy, FSC Certified, Greenguard and Greenguard Gold Certified products.
- Price Point: $$$
The Casares Desk by Masaya & Co. is a modern handcrafted piece of furniture made from sustainably sourced solid hardwood.
The minimalist design with drawer storage reduces waste during production, while the five signature Teak wood finishes offer natural aesthetics, free from harmful chemicals often used in furniture finishes.
We love this sustainable desk for its compact design as an option for a small home working space.
Masaya & Co. is one of the most earth forward companies on our list, with a deep commitment to environmentalism beyond the sale. They are committed to supporting reforestation practices, including overseeing the process themselves and growing their own Teak for their projects.
This not only ensures a reliable supply of sustainable material but also contributes to carbon sequestration, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem restoration.
Their Seed to Seat Program means around 40% of the forests they steward over are kept untouched. It’s a perfectly ungreedy action in a competitive landscape. These forests capture carbon and allow nature and fauna to thrive and be free!
Hoek Home: The Desk
- Sustainability: Upcycled materials, sustainably sourced wood, no toxic glues, afterlife recycling.
- Price Point: $
Like Cher, some of the best things come are known by one name. Hoek’s The Desk is certainly one of them.
We love this desk for its mobility (their flat-pack system means everything neatly packs into one easy-to-carry piece under 2” thick so that you can take your furniture with you!), pricepoint (the most economical on our list), and of course, it’s sustainable materials.
This slim, versatile table is made of locally sourced, sustainably forested birch or walnut and 100% recycled HDPE plastic legs.
In addition to its products, Hoek Home’s small local operations use innovative methods to upcycle some of the planet’s most problematic material. For example, their HDPE is made from 100% post-consumer content like recycled milk jugs, shredded, and compressed into a substrate suitable for milling all right in their Brooklyn shop, reducing the carbon footprint associated with transporting materials.
The company also embraces a circular manufacturing process by offering furniture recycling. If customers decide to recycle their Hoek furniture, they can send the HDPE components back to the company.
These returned parts are re-shredded and compressed into a new substrate that can be milled again without losing strength in the final product. This recycling process can be completed up to 10 times!
In addition to these practices, Hoek uses water-based finishes and avoids toxic glues in their products, further minimizing their environmental impact.
Comparing Sustainable Office Desks
Uplift Desk: V2 Standing Desk
Herman Miller: Sit-To-Stand Desk
|GreenGuard Certification, EPA SmartWay Excellence Award, FSC Certified, and rePurpose Program.
Branch Furniture: Six Person Desk
|Upcycled and recyclable materials, an excellent ‘take back’ program, and durable design.
Masaya: Casares Desk
|Seed to Seat Program, biomass converted to sustainable energy, FSC Certified, Greenguard and Greenguard Gold Certified products.
Hoek Home: The Desk
|Upcycled materials, sustainably sourced wood, no toxic glues, afterlife recycling.
Why Switch to an Eco-Friendly Desk
First of all, we don’t want to promote anyone buying furniture without there being a need. Absolutely hang on to your old furniture for as long as possible – repaint it, put new fixtures on it, repurpose it, or rehome it before buying a new desk.
When you are ready, switching to an eco-friendly desk can come with numerous benefits for both the environment and individual well-being. Here are some key reasons to look for a more planet-friendly working space!
Reduces Environmental Impact
Eco-friendly desks are typically made from sustainable or recycled materials like reclaimed wood or recycled plastic. This reduces the demand for new materials and helps conserve natural resources.
Saves Money and Energy
Sustainable office desks designed to be durable and long-lasting, reducing the need for frequent replacements and saving money in the long term.
Can Show a Commitment to the Environment
For businesses, investing in sustainable furniture can enhance your brand’s image by showing a commitment to environmental responsibility.
Promotes Employee Well-being and Productivity
Studies have shown that a green workplace can lead to increased productivity, fewer allergies, and improved mental clarity. Natural materials and plants can also create a healthier and more comfortable workspace.
Attracts Prospective Employees
For companies, having a green office space can make you more appealing to job seekers who value sustainability and wellness.
Switching to a paperless system or using furniture made from recycled materials can significantly reduce waste and carbon footprint.
What Makes a Desk & Standing Desk Eco-Friendly?
Here are a few key things to look for when you are trying to furnish your office with the earth in mind.
We prioritized desks made from sustainable or recycled materials. This includes reclaimed wood, FSC-certified wood, or recycled fixtures. Bonus points if the materials are local and the company can reduce its shipping and logistics footprint.
The production process was also a critical factor. Desks that were produced using energy-efficient methods or in facilities powered by renewable energy were given preference.
Only the unicorn companies are able to do it all. The ones who can’t offset where they can, and we tip our hats to them as well. Using recycled plastic? While the material isn’t great, it is being pulled out of the waste stream, and the emissions from production are much lower!
We looked for desks with relevant sustainability certifications, such as GREENGUARD, FSC, or Rainforest Alliance. These certifications provide third-party verification that the products meet certain environmental standards. They’re the voice of the forest and allow consumers to choose better.
We considered the ethical practices of the brand. This includes fair trade practices, good working conditions, and initiatives to give back to the community. The Fair Trade Certification maintains a rigid standard of production practices in relation to the people involved, a part of holistic sustainability in any company.
Durability and Lifespan
An eco-friendly product should last for a long time to reduce waste. Therefore, we chose desks that are known for their durability and quality.
Fast furniture is one of the biggest contributors to landfill overflow. Americans throw out more than 12 million tons of furniture every year, creating mountains of solid waste. This figure has grown 450 percent since 1960, according to the Environmental Protection Agency!
Finally, we didn’t forget about aesthetics. An eco-friendly desk can also be stylish. We chose desks with designs that appeal to a wide range of tastes that will hopefully stand the test of time. Why? Look, sustainability doesn’t work unless it can compete with traditional, fast furniture alternatives.
Part of a zero-waste lifestyle is hanging on to furniture for as long as possible, not turning it over every time the trends change! A timeless design is priceless for the planet.
What Makes a Desk Non-Toxic?
We certainly know there are lots of working habits that can be toxic – long hours, tough bosses, that office mate that is the first to let you know when you’re running late. However, materials and finishes fall in that category as well.
When choosing a non-toxic desk, it’s important to research the materials and manufacturing processes used, check for relevant certifications, and consider the brand’s reputation. Most of the toxicity of a desk lies in its finish.
Toxic finishes in desks typically refer to the chemicals used in paints, varnishes, stains, and sealants that can off-gas harmful substances into the air. Here are some common toxic finishes.
Lead is a toxic metal that can cause serious health problems if ingested or inhaled. While the use of lead-based paints has been banned in many countries, some imported or older furniture may still contain it.
Formaldehyde is often used to manufacture pressed-wood products, glues, adhesives, plywood panels, and coatings. It’s a known carcinogen and can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat and can worsen asthma symptoms.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
These are a group of chemicals that evaporate easily at room temperature. Many paints, varnishes, and sealants contain high levels of VOCs, which can cause headaches, dizziness, visual and respiratory impairment, and even damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system.
Polyurethane and PVC Coatings
These finishes can release isocyanates and other harmful substances into the air. Long-term exposure can lead to respiratory problems, skin allergies, and other health issues.
Redesign Your Office with a Sustainable Desk
Go on, reinspire your working day with an earth-friendly desk. Lower your carbon footprint, ensure the health of our forests, and keep your air free of toxic gasses all by making a stylish desk choice from a company that is trying to do better by your working day and the planet.
Additionally, as you reinvent your office space with an eco-friendly desk, don’t overlook the importance of complementing it with a sustainable office chair.
The right chair not only provides comfort and support during long working hours but also stands as a testament to your commitment to sustainability.