Furniture disposal and the burden on landfills : Augusta Free Press

Published Friday, July 17, 2020, 1:03 pm

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Landfill

(© wellphoto – stock.adobe.com)

Knowing what to do with unwanted furniture can be a challenge. It is often large and bulky, making it difficult to sell or recycle. The limited options for disposing of unwanted furniture make it the least recycled product in the United States. Furniture currently accounts for more than four percent of the 258 million tons of waste Americans produce each year. This includes companies and individuals.

Unfortunately, when people move or upgrade to a newer style, the furniture that people no longer need usually ends up in landfills and the land runs out of space. At the current landfill utilization rate, the United States only has 18 years before there is no more garbage that is not recyclable.

It is important that everyone now does their part to ensure that the landfills of nations do not reach their maximum capacity. Below are some tips on how to keep home and office furniture out of landfills.

Reduce furniture purchases if possible

Some pieces of furniture can double in size as other pieces of furniture, reducing the need to purchase multiple pieces of furniture. A sofa bed that, in the perfect example, can be pulled into a bed. Over-buying furniture can be tempting, especially if it’s a set.

It is important to consider how well new furniture will fit into a room and whether buying multiple pieces is even necessary. Researching a furniture store’s recycling policy before making a purchase can also help consumers make wise purchasing decisions.

Instead, buy used furniture

Some pieces of furniture can last for decades even if passed on to different people. Instead of going to the furniture store when it is time to replace or install furniture, people can save money and the environment by shopping their local search ads or thrift stores.

It will help a local citizen or business make money and keep the used furniture out of a landfill. A protective cover can easily hide outdated styles if that’s a problem.

Waste diversion programs for businesses

Office cubicles, which can weigh up to 700 pounds, are the most common types of office furniture to land in landfills. Desks, chairs, privacy screens, and conference tables are just a few of the other types of furniture that thousands of companies have each year.

To combat this growing problem, a company called Green Standards developed an office furniture replacement program. It works with 10,000 companies to find one company that can use or renovate office furniture that another company no longer needs.

Green Solutions not only prevents office furniture from taking up valuable space in American landfills, but also reduces the material requirements for the manufacture of new office furniture. The CO2 compensation from this program corresponds to the amount of energy required to supply 11,000 households with electricity each year.

Additional local transport companies that specialize in the removal of old furniture are increasingly relying on processes and messaging related to prioritizing the donation or recycling of the furniture they have picked up.

Sensible furniture shopping and responsible recycling don’t seem like big measures, but they can have a powerful impact if enough people get on board.

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