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How To Dispose of Furniture: Make A Plan

Monday, May 1, 2017

Becoming Less Wasteful with Furniture Waste

Furniture waste, or f-waste as the growing issue has been termed, affects businesses of all kinds. Offices relocate. Branches downsize or close. People come and go. Needs change. And every once in a while, the marketing department leads a rebranding effort that modernizes your no-longer-of-this-decade space. Whatever the cause of your furniture surplus, it’s a good idea to have a plan for getting rid of it that doesn’t send all those extra desks, chairs and filing cabinets straight to the landfill.

 

Why not just dump it all?

  • Cost: Landfill costs are rising, so it’s becoming increasingly expensive to treat items that are still usable as waste.
  • Financial return: Furniture is expensive. Some of these costs can often be recuperated by recycling or repurposing old items for resale.
  • Environmental benefit: Reducing the millions of tons of furniture waste that are sent to landfills can help preserve the environment and reduce carbon emissions—not to mention help you meet sustainability goals.
  • Community relations: Donating items to nonprofit organizations like charities and schools can demonstrate your commitment to the community. You might even be eligible for a tax credit or receive some recognition for your efforts.

 

Creating an F-waste Plan

When facing the question of what to do with furniture waste, you should first make sure you understand your company’s sustainability and corporate responsibility goals. Your company may have waste diversion mandates or existing relationships with community organizations that could use the items you’re trying to discard.

Next, make sure you have a clear picture of your furniture inventory. Make a detailed list to determine the items that are in good working order and those that are damaged. Be specific. Include brand names, item conditions, dimensions, etc.

 

Consider all of your options.

  1. Can anything be resold?
  2. Which items could be recycled?
  3. Which items could be donated?
  4. Can anything be offered (or auctioned) to employees?
  5. What must be taken to a landfill?

 

Some furniture manufacturers work with companies to redistribute surplus items. Herman Miller, a furniture designer and manufacturer in Michigan, partners with businesses to reduce the amount of furniture that ends up in landfills by donating it to nonprofit organizations. Other companies, like Green Standards, provide programs to help offices deal with waste through resale, recyling and donation.

Once you know what you have and where it could go, it’s important to figure out a budget. How much will it cost to disassemble the furniture, remove it from your space and transport it to wherever it’s headed? Don’t forget to include costs for professional movers, electrical technicians, dumpsters and the time investment for your employees who may spend their day taking desks apart or emptying cabinets.

Most companies benefit from an approach that uses a combination of resale, recycling and donation tactics. The process may be complicated but following a detailed plan can help your business cut landfill costs, protect the environment and support your local community. Need help? Waste Disposal Solutions can be a trusted advisor through the process. Contact us now to get started.