Updated: Nov 22, 2019
What Constitutes Sustainable Furniture?
Furniture is a complex product that is made up of many materials. The main criteria determining the sustainability of a piece of furniture is the environmental impact of its materials. For instance, an upholstered chair is made of wood for the frame, metal for the springs, cushioning, and fabric or leather covering. For a piece to be sustainable, the materials that make up the piece should come from a recycled or reclaimed source, from forests that are certified to be well-managed, or from an established plantation known not to cause deforestation. Lastly, the piece of furniture should be very durable, so it can be used for a long time before needing replacement.
The Many Options for Recycling Furniture
When getting rid of an old piece of furniture, one should first consider recycling. There are many ways this can be accomplished. In many cases, some parts of a piece of furniture might not be recyclable, but other components are. In this case, it would be best to dismantle the furniture into recyclable parts, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals, which possess great value for recycling due to their nature. Another way to recycle is as simple as donating your old piece to charities or other related organizations. Close to home, there is Green Dot Home (家點綠), an organisation established in 2012 devoted to promoting sustainable living in Hong Kong. They collect and recycle used furniture and home-ware and provide a collection service to pick up the furniture from donor’s houses. Finally, you can always just refurbish your current piece. Most furniture, such as sofas and chairs, can be very durable, yet the fabrics can start to show signs of wear quickly. In this case reupholstering is an environmentally-friendly alternative to buying new furniture.
The Benefits of Recycling Furniture
Recycling furniture has benefits for both the earth and others around you. The first and most obvious benefit is helping the environment by saving resources and not adding pressure to landfills. Furniture recycling can help us to convert used materials into new products, reducing the need to extract new, raw materials. Both metal extraction and deforestation are detrimental to our natural environment. Furniture recycling is one of the great ways to conserve our limited raw materials and protect natural habitats for the future. Another benefit is that donating second-hand furniture can help those who may struggle to purchase furniture on their incomes.
Curious about what other options you have for furniture recycling locally? Check back for our next blog post, where we’ll outline the charities involved in furniture recycling in Hong Kong.