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Green Standards has developed a program to provide office waste diversion solutions for companies and corporations seeking to responsibly dispose of their offices and large corporate campuses.
How Much Furniture Goes To Landfill
Furniture waste (f-waste) is now known to be an 8.5 million ton annual waste problem as companies around the world develop innovative programs and initiatives to divert waste from landfills.
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Steelcase, a Grand Rapids, Mich.-based furniture designer and manufacturer, for example, is transitioning to a circular economy business model and working to recycle furniture that can easily be destroyed if not reused.
Green Standards, a sustainability firm, has also developed a program to offer office waste diversification solutions for companies and corporations looking to responsibly dispose of their offices and large corporate campuses.
We often talk about corporate or office waste in the sense of using less paper, using less electricity, being more sustainable with our computer use, or switching to greener office products. But I had never considered the issue of corporate furniture waste until this press release landed in my inbox. It is truly staggering to see the amount of office furniture that is wasted every year. Here are some numbers to scare you off your couch: Furniture Contributes to Excess Landfill Waste, Students Weigh Inexpensive, Eco-Friendly Alternatives Thrift Shops, Reuse Communities, and City Governments Take Action
Every summer, students pack their cars with valuables, forcing them to play Tetris with tables, chairs and mattresses. Whatever is disagreeable must remain.
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Sometimes, the equipment sits patiently with the trash, waiting to be taken to the landfill. Other times, the furniture sits comfortably in an air-conditioned shop, safe from wood rot and curious critters.
Many movers are unaware of the environmental impact of disposing of furniture by stuffing most of their items into landfills. In a city where students often move in and out of furnished and unfurnished apartments, strategies such as furniture recycling and savings have become a popular Gainesville option.
Alyssa Soejima, a 21-year-old UF education major, was in Gainesville during quarantine when she walked through a pharaoh’s glass closet through the Beaty Towers dump. It was one of hundreds of pieces of equipment that students threw away due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Alachua County’s 2019-2021 Waste Composition Study Project, furniture makes up about 2% of landfill waste. The study also estimates that for every ton of new equipment purchased that year, Alachua landfilled a third of its weight in old discarded equipment, said Dr. Timothy G., the study’s principal investigator. Townsend.
Landfill. Old Furniture At The Garbage Dump. Stock Photo By ©macor 159546340
“There’s a lot of stuff like abandoned furniture right now,” he said. “If there’s a way to reuse them and cover the cost of buying new equipment and manufacturing new equipment, that’s a huge savings and environmental benefit.”
The report provides several recommendations for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions and energy footprint of waste. It proposes banning junk mail, offering food donations, taking away paper and building deconstruction mandates to recycle 70% of deconstructed buildings.
During the late summer months, the city of Gainesville sees about a 10% to 15% increase in discarded couches, said Jeffrey Klug, assistant manager of Alachua County Waste Collection and Alternatives.
Although sofas are not heavy, they take up a lot of space. According to Klug, you get 900 tons of trash out of the county every day. This can lead to increased waste disposal trips to the landfill.
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“We’re seeing an increase in tonnage during migration and transition,” Klug said. “But it’s going to increase that kind of confusion with our operation.”
Currently, there is no city-wide recycling program for old equipment, and none of the collected waste is allowed to be used for waste energy, he said.
This June, however, the city commission passed a new solid waste ordinance requiring multifamily properties to submit a “Plan of Use,” notifying residents of donation sites a month before move-in date. The plan aims to divert household goods, appliances and cardboard electronics from landfill.
The ordinance will take effect in 2023 for residential buildings with 200 units and in 2025 for buildings with more than 50 units.
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That’s exactly what Darin Perlstein, a 23-year-old UF psychology graduate, wants from the city. The lack of organized wholesale services during the summer months worries Perlstein about providing services to students and those who have to deal with them.
For Perlstein and her boyfriend, 23-year-old UF history student Alessandro Cepero, the popularity of second-hand furniture can be attributed to its unique aesthetics, affordability and environmental impact.
Although Sepero likes furniture from big-box retailers like IKEA, the mid-century also brings shelves, stories and cabinets from another era into her home.
“You don’t get the same quality,” Cepero said. “When you talk about mid-century, a lot of things are handmade. Many things are made with these expensive, heavier materials. “
How To Get Rid Of Used Furniture
At the individual level, recycling equipment is a popular option for reducing the negative impact on the environment. Stores such as Reuse Planet and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore flourish throughout the city. These stores divert hundreds of thousands of pounds of waste from landfills and nature corridors and provide a more affordable alternative for students and low-income families.
The ReStore, located at 2301 NW 6th Street, is owned by Habitat for Humanity, an organization that provides affordable housing for families. Gerald Garza, the store’s director, said it’s a place where families can shop for low-cost gear.
Equipment that needs to be touched up at the ReStore will be repaired, and items that can’t be sold will be scrapped for scrap metal or parts that can be used in arts and crafts projects, he said.
Besides going to the grocery store, there are other options for those who want to reduce their waste.
Furniture Excess Contributes To Landfill Waste, Students Weigh Cheap, Eco Friendly Alternatives
Angela Cloonan, a 22-year-old UF entrepreneurship master’s student, is a member of the Buy Nothing project. Several Gainesville Facebook pages are dedicated to different neighborhoods, and members can post or request gifts. Everything is free.
“My brain is almost wired, ‘Oh, if I get rid of stuff, I can have more stuff,'” she said. “It’s crazy, but I like having stuff.”
Desperate to pack their cars before moving, students may choose not to pack their belongings and throw everything away, she said. For Cloonan, it shows that people are overwhelmed, but don’t feel it until it’s too late.
“I think individual events are important,” Cloonan said. “Even if you don’t see your impact right away, it creates a sense of responsibility and a sense of sharing with others.”
The F Waste Problem And How Companies Can Solve It
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Fern is a journalism and sustainability studies junior. He previously reported for University and Metro Desks. Now he’s covering the environmental collision on the enterprise table. When he’s not reporting, you can find him dancing to house music at Barcade or snapping photos at Olympus. The UK furniture industry is increasingly reminded of the environmental impact of waste products – but what is the economic impact? As new legislation promises to catalyze recycling and reuse of goods away from landfill, Furniture News asks experts how businesses can get ahead of the circular economy…
According to the North London Waste Authority’s 2018/19 report, 22 million pieces of furniture are thrown away in the UK each year, most of which go directly to landfill. Climate movement WRAP estimates this is the annual fate of 670,000 tonnes of furniture – much of which is recycled.
These are just two of the headlines in the escalating environmental crisis, and while data varies from source to source, the numbers are astronomical — especially considering the country’s dwindling capacity to handle such volumes. Sometimes it takes a look at a sofa or mattress in the dumpster, or a fly-by on the side of the road, to begin to appreciate the space these goods occupy in such numbers.
Landfills: Preparing Your Waste For Disposal
Government legislation is paving the way to prevent the worst practices – this year, a ban on disposing of POP (Persistent Organic Pollutants)-containing furniture in general waste or landfill came into force, and producer responsibility (EPR) schemes for mattresses were extended. Closet furniture is not far away.
At the same time, new routes for recycling and reuse are emerging. Instead of waiting for the impact of such laws
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