What type of waste is furniture?
Who invented furniture?
Before we consider furniture disposal, it’s interesting to learn about its history. Did you know that furniture is as old as civilisation itself? The first known use of a chair dates back as far as 3300 B.C., in Egypt and Mesopotamia. Today, ever-evolving styles and trends lead to much more frequent disposal of furniture.
What is furniture made from and how is it made?
There are a lot of different materials used to make furniture, ranging from aluminium and steel to plastic and more. The different combinations and variations of these materials mean there are a lot of processes involved in producing a piece of furniture.
Furniture can be a chore to dispose of. The good news is that you don’t have to just throw your old furniture away. Many areas have programmes to help recycle old furniture. For example, you can donate your furniture to charity or drop it off at specified locations. In addition, some towns and cities have yard-waste pickup services for things like wood or metal. To find out if your town has such a programme, contact your local council.
You could also sell your furniture at a car boot sale, re-purpose them for a different purpose in your home or give them away completely. Another option is disposing of these items properly by recycling. Many cities have recycling centres where you can drop off a range of items to be correctly disposed of.
How is furniture recycled?
The next step for recycled goods is to be cleaned at a facility. Once these items have been cleaned, they are sold to different businesses that use recycled products. A good example is office furniture, one of the most commonly recycled items. After being collected, it will often go through a cleaning process before being used again for new products. This process saves on resources and creates less waste in landfills. The price difference between recycled and new furniture is negligible, however, there are environmental benefits to buying recycled goods.
Some items may not be suitable for a second life. They must go through a process known as ‘disposal’. This involves taking these items to a waste or scrap yard that specialises in recycling metals, plastics, or other materials. Scrap yards specialise in buying certain products by weight. It is also possible to recycle many home products on your own.
Alternatives to new furniture
There are lots of alternatives to new furniture when you need a new piece for your space. If you’re thinking about buying new items but want to save some money and reduce your carbon footprint, try looking for used pieces from sites like eBay or Facebook Marketplace, or check with local businesses in thrift stores and antique shops. Unconventional pieces can sometimes provide better value, as well as unique character for your home!
Facts about furniture
• In the UK, we throw away 300,000 tonnes of furniture every year that could be reused. Just think about how much you could save by recycling your old furniture rather than throwing it away!
• In London alone, 45% of people are throwing away good quality furniture. By encouraging donations to charity shops, we benefit not only the environment but also those in need.
• Only 1 in 10 people consider repairing their furnishings in the UK. There’s a huge opportunity to reduce the amount of waste through repairs, which could also create jobs in the process!
Where can you take furniture to recycle and dispose of for free?
Many cities now offer home pickups for various items. The council will collect large items for free in an effort to reduce fly-tipping. Charity shops will also take furniture for free, and online marketplaces offer ‘collection only’ listings to avoid paying shipping fees.
We all end up needing to dispose of furniture at some point, but with this guide, you now have a few more options of what to do with it that can save you time and money. Taking advantage of your local resources will also help reduce your carbon footprint so you can feel good about rehoming your older pieces.
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