Good Question: Green Framing?

Good Question: Green Framing?

Jonathan B.
Jan 28, 2008
(Note: Include a pic of your problem and your question gets posted first. Email questions and pics with QUESTIONS in subject line to: green(at)apartmenttherapy(dot)com)
Galen asks:

Is one way to hang a picture or a mirror in a frame any more "green" than another?

This one gave us pause -- but upon reflection, we think yes, there are some things you can do that make a difference.

It depends on what you're framing. First, we'd ask if you need a frame in the first place: if you're hanging a mass-produced print or poster, Jorgen Møller's poster hanger, shown above, is a simple, good looking solution. It's mostly aluminum, which means it can easily be recycled, and it uses a lot less material than a typical frame or dry mount.

If you really need a frame, here's our advice:


  • We'd go for glass instead of plastic; the polycarbonate used in high-quality picture frames is one of the more toxic plastics to produce. Also, plastic has a natural static charge, which means it attracts dust. Glass stays cleaner and won't scratch easily.

  • For material, check out lightweight, minimally finished metal or solid wood frames. We'd also forgo anything with a metallic finish -- as a rule, those pigments tend to be less toxic. If you're concerned about indoor air quality, then also avoid frames made of engineered wood or chipboard.

  • Avoid dry mounting. There's volatile adhesive and lacquer involved.

  • If you're planning to use a matte in your frame, inquire at the frame shop if there are recycled-content options available, but make sure that the material is archival quality. There's no sense in ruining a fine photograph or work of art.

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