The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Thursday, 28 May

Why Throwing Away Office Furniture Should Be A Thing Of The Past

Why Throwing Away Office Furniture Should Be A Thing Of The Past

Businesses that are refurbishing or moving offices are being told to reconsider throwing away old office furniture in the rush to modernise, in light of the European Commission’s new Circular Economy Action Plan

According to the action plan, up to 80% of a product’s environmental impact is determined at the design phase. The usual linear pattern of “take-make-use-dispose” does not provide producers with sufficient incentives to make their products more circular. 

Many products break down too quickly, cannot be easily reused, repaired or recycled, and many are made for single use only. 

Office desks and chairs, for instance, have been a big burden on the environment for many years – often ending up in a landfill.

Businesses choose to replace their furniture and IT equipment with bigger, smaller or higher spec models, even when they are perfectly usable.

Now, however, there is another option as office refit companies begin to offer more sustainable alternatives which fit into a circular economy model.

 

Resources should be used, recovered and regenerated

 

“And what we are seeing is that it’s not just major corporations that are engaging with us, it’s the start-up businesses who want to know what they can do and how they can benefit society. People are looking for a more sustainable solution.”

–Phil Oram

Regional Director, Crown Workspace

 

Phil Oram, Regional Director at Crown Workspace, which refurbishes and repurposes office furniture for clients at its innovative Renew Centre in London, believes it’s time to change.

He said: “We can’t continue to throw everything away. We were brought up uneducated about sustainability and it’s our children and social media that are starting to educate us that we must change.

“Remanufacturing office furniture just makes sense, not just ethically but financially, too.

“There is a 70 per cent cost saving against new. So, it’s not always the expensive option to do the right thing.”

 

Millions of tonnes of office furniture goes to landfill

 

Approximately 1.2 million office desks and 1.8 million office chairs end up in UK landfill each year according to Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) whose last figures were produced in 2011.

Meanwhile, Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates 2 million tonnes of Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), including IT and telecommunications equipment, are thrown out in the UK annually.

Crown Workspace remanufactured 7750 items of office furniture in 2018-19, which meant 474 tonnes of CO2 were saved and 218 tonnes of waste was diverted from landfill.

“Sustainability is vital for businesses going forward”, Oram said. “They want to be seen to be doing the right thing - by their customers and by their staff. We cannot continue to operate the way we have for the past 40 years.”

“There’s certainly a shift in the agenda these days. Businesses that we’re talking to about sustainability are interested in the topic.

“And what we are seeing is that it’s not just major corporations that are engaging with us, it’s the start-up businesses who want to know what they can do and how they can benefit society. People are looking for a more sustainable solution.”

Picture: Businesses that are refurbishing or moving offices are being told to reconsider throwing away old office furniture in the rush to modernise, in light of the European Commission’s new Circular Economy Action Plan. 

Article written by Ella Tansley

Share



Related Articles

Six Ways Facilities Managers Can Plan For A More Sustainable Future

In honour of Earth Day, here are six simple ways facilities managers can plan for a more sustainable future.  It’s a common misconception that making...

 Read Full Article
Mitie Commits To Plan Zero

Simon King, Mitie's new Director of Sustainability, is behind the company's “Plan Zero” commitment to reach zero carbon by 2025 –  which...

 Read Full Article
Research Says Sustainable Buildings Will Bring Investors Tangible Financial Benefits

The latest research from professional services firm JLL suggests that investing in sustainable offices in central London will return “tangible financial...

 Read Full Article
Don’t Waste It Roundtable Series - Adding Value To The Triple Bottom Line

Welcome to the final part of our Don’t Waste It Roundtable, sponsored by Reconomy. In the last video of this four-part series, the panel discusses how to...

 Read Full Article
Sir Robert McAlpine - Taking The Path To Net Zero

Building and civil engineering company, Sir Robert McAlpine, has set a path to achieving net zero carbon emissions within the next five years. The commitment came as...

 Read Full Article
A Personal Service Delivers Specialist Vehicle Diversity For Galliford Try

As a long standing Europcar client, when commercial vehicles were required for large civil engineering and construction projects, it was the close personal relationship...

 Read Full Article
Don’t Waste It Roundtable Series – Applying A Different Measure

Welcome to the third part of our Don’t Waste It Roundtable, sponsored by Reconomy. In the penultimate video of our four-part series, the theme this week is...

 Read Full Article
Interserve And E.ON Awarded Accolade For Cup Plan

Interserve and E.ON have been awarded an Oceansaver Accolade for their plan to remove more than 1,300,000 single-use plastic cups from E.ON sites and replace them...

 Read Full Article
Culture Vultures Target Meat Market

The City of London has announced the winners of the Smithfield Area Public Realm competition – a plan to create a vibrant, exciting and welcoming new...

 Read Full Article
Sky's Limit – 2030 Plan Because The World Can't Wait

Tuesday 4 February 2020 saw Sky, the global media company, announced plans to go net-zero carbon by 2030 – a full 20 years sooner than the British...

 Read Full Article