Reusing old furniture can be a definite green move. It keeps it out of the garbage and reduces consumption of new materials. But even just a few years ago, we were torn about refinishing old furniture because of the toxic steps involved in refinishing. Now days, there are plenty of green options for breathing new life into old furniture...We had a white-painted flat file we purchased off of Craigslist many years ago. At the time, the only way to remove its gunky white paint was with toxic strippers. Now, there is SoyGel, which is perfect for cleaning and stripping paint and other eurethane finishes off of old furniture.
Next, if you're repainting the piece, choose a good green paint. We used to use oil paints on our furniture, which had us fuming that we couldn't keep our refinishing projects VOC-free. But now, as shared by Maxwell, there are great green paints like Marston & Langinger.