12+ Modern Ways to Recycle Your Old Furniture
Recycling is one of the most important ways you can be environmentally friendly yet often people are unsure on how to recycle old furniture. A recent article from Planet Save reported that furniture was the least recycled item in households, yet there are so many ways to recycle furniture.
The benefits of recycling are well known, yet it’s not just household waste, like cans and bottles, that can be recycled. Over 10 million household items are sent to landfill every year, but here are fourteen ways you can recycle your old furniture and change that statistic.
Here are some other shocking facts & figures about waste in the UK alone:
1. Donate unwanted furniture to charity shops
Charity shops are no longer just for chintzy lampshades and old jigsaw puzzles – a number of great charities now have furniture stores that sell unwanted furniture with all proceeds to charity, and many of them will collect too.
The charity Emmaus employs homeless people to fix up and recycle furniture, which is then sold in their warehouses for the respected homeless charity. By donating furniture to a project like Emmaus, it is both great for the planet and great for people.
2. Use an environmentally friendly rubbish clearance company
A great way to recycle furniture is by using an environmentally friendly rubbish clearance company. EnviroWaste is a removal and rubbish clearance company that focuses on environmentally friendly solutions for waste disposal, diverting 92% of waste from landfills. By choosing a removal company that takes social and environmental concerns seriously, you can be confident that your old furniture has been properly recycled and has a positive impact on the environment.
3. Donate furniture through the Furniture Re-use Network
The Furniture Re-use Network allows you to get rid of your unwanted furniture and make a positive impact on the environment. They have some brilliant initiatives to reuse old furniture and keep it from landfill by giving it to people in need. They allow people to both find and get rid of unwanted furniture and work with over 200 reuse charities.
4. Recycle old furniture by giving it away
There are a number of effective ways to give away your old furniture – a great way to recycle it, with low environmental impact. Freecycle is a site that allows users to upload old furniture for someone else to collect and reuse. Freecycle has nearly 6,000 local groups, so there should be one near you where you can list your old furniture to allow someone local to pick it up and reuse it, saving it from landfill. There are other sites where you can list unwanted furniture, like gumtree, which also allows you to list locally, so even petrol use is reduced.
5. Refinish or reupholster it
Before you decide to get rid of it, consider refinishing your furniture to get a brand new look. Determine the base material of your furniture. Patio furniture is usually made of metal, whereas desks and tables are often wood or synthetic wood. Couches and chairs are typically upholstered in linen, cotton or leather.
For furniture that is mostly metal, you’ll want to contact a scrap metal dealer to see if it can be picked up for recycling. For wooden ones, take the furniture to a professional restoration expert or go the DIY route. You can use your little imagination to turn your old furniture into something new and amazing. Either put on shiny new paint or give it a vintage look by creating an artfully cracked or distressed look. For old couches and chairs, consider reupholstering the pieces with a fresh new fabric.
6. Upcycle old furniture
If you’re a dab hand at DIY, upcycling furniture is the perfect way to recycle old furniture. Check out sites like Pinterest for informative tutorials and how-to guides, which allow you to turn your unwanted furniture into beautiful, quirky upcycled pieces.
7. Reuse your furniture
You can give your old furniture a new look or you can extend the life of your pieces by using new slipcovers. You can renew the chair, sofa, couch, removing the seat and fabric and replacing the old fabric with new.
8. Sell Any Furniture That Is In Good Enough Condition.
Instead of simply throwing away your old furniture, why not try and sell in on as second hand. There are many easy ways to advertise your products for free nowadays, including Facebook groups, free ad sites, shop windows etc.
Due to regulations, you must make sure that your old furniture as an up to date fire safety label; otherwise, the furniture can’t be re-sold.
9. Try to Trade in Your Old Furniture
Some shop companies will trade in your old furniture in the same way that you trade in a car and receive a discount on a new purchase. If you’ve seen the new furniture you’d like to buy, why not approach the dealer and see if they’d be willing to offer a reduction on the overall price if you were to give them your old sofas.
10. Turn to Your Local Stage School or Theatre
There are many theatres that need to acquire aged looking stage props for new productions. This is a creative method of recycling your furniture; however, it’s an extremely exciting way of repurposing your furniture and getting a second use out of it. Better than shoving it in the ground!
11. Hold a Car Boot Sale
It may well be hard to transport your furniture each weekend to a car boot sale; however, this is a great way of generating some cash from your old furniture. Again you must make sure that your pieces have an up to date fire safety label.
12. Repurpose it
Here are some creative ways to repurpose your old furniture:
- Use an old door as a headboard for your bed.
- Repurpose furniture for garage, playroom, den, shop etc.
- Use a ladder to hang towels, kitchen napkins or blankets.
- Wooden packing crate can be used as a side table to stack magazines.
- Use old travel trunks as sitting option, bedside tables, coffee tables, side tables or display pieces.
- Elevate your mattress with the help of wood pallets.
- Old dressers can be restored as vanities for powder rooms and also suits with the colonial or traditional themed bathrooms with vintage finish. The drawers can also be modified to hold the pipes and other plumbing fixtures of the home, if not your other accessories.
- Old lockers will work well as shoe storage.
- Discarded wooden crates can be used as one of the most functional pieces of DIY furniture for your home. They can be used as outdoor patio furniture like sofa, center table and even bedside table for bedroom.
- Old windows and windowpanes that have a vintage look can be preserved and restored as framed pieces to adorn the walls or can be used as room dividers. Installing mirrors in these frames can give a gorgeous customized partition cum framed mirror. Old windows can also be used to frame fabrics and paintings.
13.Community Bulk Waste Collection
This may be the last choice if no stores will pick up your furniture and you can’t haul it to a recycler. Ask your community if it provides bulk waste collection. Most cities specify bulk waste pick-up for large items like furniture, appliances and/or electronics at least once per year, but you’ll need to schedule collection.
14.Green Junk Removal Options
The fact is that there are many green junk removal options for your old furniture. These include recycling, of course, but also repurposing existing furniture items, selling them, or even donating them. However, too many people are unaware that they have a choice. You can also be confident that your discarded furniture will be recycled by sourcing a removal clearance company such as EnviroWaste or junk-king. With these organizations that embody social and environmentally friendly solutions, your rubbish clearance day will not have a negative impact on the environment.
UK Statistics on Waste
With all the new ways that waste can be recycled, there has been a massive improvement in the UK waste statistics (source: gov.uk)
- The percentage of waste taken from households in the UK that was recycled reached 44.9% in 2014. This is an increase from 44.1% the year previously and in 2010 where it was 40.4%. The target for UK households is to reach a recycle rate of 50% by the time we reach 2020.
- 7% of packaging waste in the UK was either recovered or recycled in 2013, whereas back in 2012, it was just 69.1%. This is an impressive improvement of 3.6%. The European Union target for the UK was to recycle at least 60% of waste taken from packaging. Therefore the target was smashed.
- 5% of construction & demolition waste was recovered in 2012 throughout the UK. The European Union target for the UK by 2020 is to recover 70% of construction & demolition waste.
- In 2012, 200m tonnes of waste was generated by the UK. 50% of this was created by construction. 24% of this was generated by the commercial & industrial activities, with households being responsible for an additional 14%.
So, as you can see, old furniture doesn’t have to just end up in the dump or the scrap heap – there’s plenty you can do with it to ensure it goes on and on.