Experts estimate that approximately 8.5 million tons of furniture waste is sent to landfills each year, even though much of the “waste” is still usable either as parts or as a whole. Over the past decade, though, increased interest in furniture waste has forged important and fruitful relationships, according to a Waste360 article highlighting the diversion efforts of corporations around the country.
Environmental firm Green Standards works with two Michigan-based manufacturers, General Motors and Herman Miller, to find creative solutions for excess furniture. For instance, furniture and other material from a decommissioned GM office was given a second life at Cody High School in Detroit, supplementing everything from new classrooms to the urban gardening program.
This tactic has been very successful in furniture waste reduction efforts. IRN: The Reuse Network, a matchmaking service that connects businesses and institutions with nonprofits and schools who need their surplus furniture, reports that it partnered with over 100 recipients in 2016 to repurpose 7.5 million tons of furniture.
At Herman Miller, the recycling process starts in the design stages – a focus on “cradle-to-cradle” design means a responsible post-consumer life for the products is imagined in the initial engineering stages. Combined with parallel donation efforts, the eight years of focus on reuse and recycling have diverted about 6,000 tons of waste, with a projected goal of 125,000 tons by 2023.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts assists businesses and institutions with waste reduction, such as reuse, recycling, and food waste diversion. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.