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Reduce Reuse Recycle - Your Green Guide      


Where Can I Recycle..... Furniture?


Image Credit: David Jones

Pretty much everyone at some point has a piece of furniture that they no longer want; maybe you have changed your taste in decor, inherited a piece of furniture from a relative, moved house and no longer have room for an item. And of course maybe you have furniture that is damaged and want to get rid of it.

If your furniture is in good condition there are lots of things you can do with it.

  • Ask around your family, friends, workmates and neighbours and see if there is anyone who can make good use of it.
  • Sell it. You can advertise it on eBay, however I have found the best results come from advertising in the local newspaper, which is often free if the item is below a certain value and can be done via the internet.
  • Donate it to a local charity shop. Please check first if the shop can accept large items of furniture. Some organisations can collect furniture, although you will probably have to wait until they are in your area. Many charity shops are unable to accept electrical items (they need to be able to check them for safety before they resell them and many do not have the facilities for this), but do ask, as a few may accept them.
  • Give it away via a recycling community such as Freecycle. Just advertise the item available and if someone wants it they can come and take it away.
  • Donate it to the Furniture Reuse Network. FRN is national co-ordinating body for 400 furniture and appliance re-use and recycling organisations in the UK, who give furniture to families on low incomes. You can find your nearest furniture reuse organisation on their website.

May your furniture just needs repairing. If the item is an antique, find a reputable restorer by visiting the The British Antique Furniture Restorers' Association. If not don't be afraid to have a go your self (well, it it's only going to landfill otherwise you might as well try), or let a friend who is a DIY enthusiast have a go.

So, what if your item of furniture is truly beyond repair? Well, if it is made of wood it can be recycled. Most local councils accept wood for recycling at some of their recycling sites, usually the larger ones. Items made of leather or synthetic materials cannot be recycled.

Finally, you can make your future furniture purchases as environmentally friendly as possible.

  • Buy secondhand items.
  • Make sure that any new items of wooden furniture bear the Forest Stewardship Council.
  • Look for items made from reclaimed wood.
  • Buy good quality items that will last a long time.
  • Choose chairs and sofas with covers that can be easily replaced, so that when you want to change your decor you can just buy new covers rather than having to buy a whole new sofa.
  • Paint furniture that you are bored with rather than replacing it.
  • Dining chairs can be re-covered easily with fabric and a staple gun.
  • If you are lucky, you may find that your local college offers courses in Upholstery. Learn how to fix your own furniture or how to renovate secondhand furniture.

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