12.2 Million Tons and Counting. 3 Factors that Impact the amount of Office Furniture in America’s Landfills.
It’s a problem. According to the EPA, furniture waste generated by Americans in 2017 totaled 12.2 million tons, and over 80% of that went to a landfill. Even more startling, is that office furniture is the primary source of furniture waste because many times organizations don’t have the resources to sell or donate the furniture on their own. How did we get here? Let’s look at 3 contributing factors that have joined together to create this situation, and what we can do about it.
Factor #1: We live in a disposable society.
According to an article by Elizabeth Segran, Ph.D., Since the 1990s, consumer demand has grown for inexpensive home goods designed to only last a few years. The affordability of the furniture makes it possible to redecorate regularly – but the convenience comes at a great environmental cost. “Making and shipping a single piece of furniture emits an estimated 90 kilograms of carbon, the equivalent of a flying a Boeing 747 for an hour.” The waste clogs our landfills and wastes the wood, metal, and other products used to create it.
Factor #2: Office furniture is hard to dispose.
If you have a used table, couch or bedroom set around your home chances are you will find another friend or family member that can use it, or you’ll list it for sale on Craig’s List or Facebook Marketplace. It’s not so easy for businesses, who find it challenging and time consuming to find ways to donate or sell used office furniture. Unfortunately, the path of least resistance is often just throwing the items away.
Factor #3: Office furniture materials are made up of heavy durable goods.
According to Green Standards, a complete cubicle represents anywhere from 300 to 700 pounds of waste, the majority of which is ferrous metal, wood, and plastic. A typical chair has many different materials and chemicals. Reusing these items is far more effective and sustainable than dumping them in a landfill.
What can we do about it?
Consider incorporating some used office furniture into your next commercial redesign project. Using pre-owned furniture is very cost effective, typically a quarter of the cost of buying new. It has as short lead time and you can find furniture to fit your unique brand and style. Many of our clients utilize a combination of new and used furniture to create a customized space that is budget friendly. For example, using used cubicles with new fabric, and new filing cabinets with used surfaces.
About OFS Interiors
OFS Interiors is a one-stop-shop that offers interior design services, new and used commercial office furniture, project management, furniture installation, and flooring solutions. OFS Interiors wants to make your space functionally beautiful without breaking the bank, that includes offering financing options tailored to your specific needs. For more information phone (801) 974-1970 or visit https://ofsinteriors.com for used office furniture.