Save our old sofas!!
The BBC recently highlighted a problem we have in the UK with old sofas – or bulky waste given their other term. Here at Heritage Components, we supply lots of people who are bringing back old sofas and chairs to their former glory, or creating new pieces with age old methods. However, some 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste is thrown out each year in the UK, and 42% of that is furniture.
The BBC cited a report by the RSA that highlighted that a lot of people are currently not aware of what happens to their furniture at the end of its life. They often don’t know the best ways to dispose of it, or understand the likelihood of it being landfilled as opposed to reused. Once people have decided to buy something new they are rarely committed to spending lots of time or effort dealing with their old furniture and with budget furniture not being built to last - once it breaks or becomes worn, most people will replace the whole piece rather than seeking to repair it.
Now this might not affect our fellow re-upholsterers too much, furniture pre 1950 is exempt for example. However, the people it does affect are the people who really need furniture to be recycled rather than thrown away. These people are generally on low incomes, may have previously been homeless and are trying to set up a home for themselves where they’ll feel protected and secure. So why are our sofas ending up in landfill when we have a number of organisations and charities that would gladly take them off our hands?
The report outlines a number of reasons, the main one that struck me was the shocking fact that a sofa without its fire label was much more likely to end up in landfill as it can’t be sold on by a charity. Most people do not understand the reasons for keeping fire labels intact and attached. These labels can be unsightly, or get in the way, and are therefore frequently cut off without a thought. Even though an old sofa without a label can be sold on by an individual, re-use organisations are unable to sell them and are unwilling to take the risk of giving them away without the label. The furniture is then far more likely to end up in landfill.
The BBC article showed a perfectly serviceable old sofa heading for landfill (purely because it didn’t have a fire label proving that the item was fire retardant). Apart from extra taxes to pay for disposal this also means a big cost to the environment. It is estimated that re-using a tonne of old sofas would save 1.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
So here’s a link to an article – “7 things we can do to keep our old sofas out of landfill”. Please read it and share with friends and family and we can perhaps make 2016 the year that we reduce the amount of waste in an area that’s close to all our hearts.
Check out https://twitter.com/Great_Recovery and https://www.thersa.org for more information and the complete report called Re-arranging The Furniture.