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The Benefits of Furniture Recycling

Furniture recyclingDonating used furniture and and fixtures from offices and facilities can help companies avoid both monetary and environmental costs, according to an article on Today’s Facility Manager.

In most instances, furniture and fittings are replaced before the end of their useful life, according to TFM. If fixtures and fittings are in used — but still usable — condition, one alternative to landfilling is to donate the equipment for use, as is, to a nonprofit, charity or public agency.

Often, it can be easier for the donor organization to partner with a furniture dealer, architect or recycler to find an appropriate donee.

In addition to being green and well, just plain friendly, this approach can often result in a nice tax-deductible donation. Furthermore, depending on who the recipient is, it may be possible to get a breakdown of the amount of carbon and landfill tonnage diverted, all of which is useful for a triple bottom line. Donor organizations may also earn points toward LEED certification — if the new furniture is part of a refit, for instance.

The TFM article details the experience of an unnamed Fortune 500 company that, after a number of mergers and acquisitions, found itself with a stockpile of furniture that it could not use due to incompatibility of disparate furniture systems and unmatched colors. The unusable furniture also cost the firm in storage fees. Furniture remanufacturer Davis Office stepped in to offer the company a furniture “banking” solution in which the company “deposits” unwanted furniture and “withdraws” newly remanufactured furniture.

As a result, the Fortune 500 company closed many of its furniture warehouses and avoided disposal costs. After six years of participating in the program, the company has conserved 9,230,810 lbs. of raw material, diverted 6,618,238 lbs. from landfill and achieved a CO2 emissions reduction of 2,911,904 lbs., TFM says.

Photo Credit: US Army Corps of Engineers European District

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