What is f-waste?
In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported for the first time that f-waste, or furniture waste, accumulation in landfills had surpassed 9 million tons. Since then, this number has increased each year with items like tables, chairs and soft seating deemed “end-of-life,” or no longer useful, adding to this significant and growing total.
This staggering figure equates to up to 3,750 adult great white sharks or about 4,286 1979 Volkswagen Beetles.
Why does this matter?
The problem is, a lot of this furniture is in fact, still useful. When an item is landfilled, it creates literal wasted space, contributing to garbage piles almost as fast as these items can be generated, which eliminates opportunities for resale and donation. Even more disappointing, efforts to recycle are often skipped, though most waste management services do.
When we talk about f-waste, it’s important to note that this is not exclusive to other fixtures like carpets, rugs and decorative items, which are considered another category of waste accumulation completely, and according to the EPA’s findings, contribute to an additional 2.5 million tons landfilled annually.
How can you avoid furniture waste?
We’ve compiled some easy-to-follow tips, used by our own Greener Source team daily, to help you along the way to sustainability or even if you’re just getting started. Our specialized process incorporates these eco-friendly standards for every project and client to ensure that we remain as green as possible.
- Reuse or resell items that are in good condition – Look to your local marketplaces to resell your gently used items. You recover the value while providing someone else with a like-new piece of furniture.
- Donate items you cannot sell (that are in good condition) – Reach out to local donation facilities, schools, churches and other nonprofits that might be able to reuse your gently used item(s) to support their cause.
- Always try to recycle items by material before tossing out – If you’re not sure where to start, consult your local waste management group for best practices.
- Do your research before purchasing – Make mindful first purchases of quality items that will last and think about what the life of this item will hold for you? Can it be used again when you no longer need or choose to replace it? Is it easily recyclable?
- Purchase items second hand (if you can) – Check to see if there are any local businesses you can support in your area that may sell used furniture items before purchasing brand new through larger online retailers.
- Encourage others to do so, and stay informed – Share your good habits with other groups and organizations, businesses and owners, and try to stay up to date with your local area’s furniture removal and disposal guidelines. Hint: follow Greener Source on social media for news and tips on sustainability.
Of course, not every piece of furniture is able to be reused, repurposed or recycled despite its anticipated life cycle, and over time, typical wear is expected to depreciate certain materials.
However, with our best efforts to lessen f-waste, and the growing interest we see through others to showcase greener business practices, we truly believe in the global impact of waste diversion we practice and promise every day.
To learn more about how Greener Source can help your business go green through the decommissioning process or your nonprofit can receive sustainable office furniture at no cost, visit us at here.