Recycling is a by-word when it comes to eco-friendly living. In the UK we have in place a diverse range of recycling schemes which most of us have fully integrated into our lives. Unfortunately, in the relentless push towards more sustainable living, certain areas of our consumerist lifestyles can sometimes get neglected. This is especially true when it comes to furniture products.
To begin with, many people dispose of household items such as furniture without considering if they can be re-used, especially if the item is broken. This is unfortunate, considering how easy it is to repair furniture. But those who actually choose to recycle their items are not left with a wealth of options.
Despite the huge role furniture plays in our lives, it’s somewhat surprising that there lacks a consistent recycling scheme in the UK. When it comes to disposing of furniture pieces most of us travel to our local refuse dump (or call Junkwize!) and leave them in a designated areas for council staff to rummage through.
It’s also a rather common practice to leave unwanted furniture outside one’s front gate in the hope that somebody will pick it up and take it away. While this can be a rather useful method of disposal/recycling, it reveals a lack of any concerted, co-ordinated approach to furniture recycling by local councils. This does however mean that private companies like Junkwize and various charities are able to jump in and fill the void.
The Furniture Re-use Network is one such charity. Based in Bristol the FRN is a national body which supports and champions hundreds of re-use organisations throughout the country. Their aim is to provide affordable household items such as furniture and white goods to low-income families. To this end, they’ve managed to recycle almost 3 million items of furniture and electrical equipment. And as testament to its success, the FRN is rapidly growing with a workforce of over 3000 staff.
Through the FRN website, visitors are able to donate furniture and search their online database to track down local re-use organisations. It’s a simple concept that’s proved extremely effective in providing people with affordable furniture and household items. Although the FRN’s main focus relates to furniture re-use, the charity also runs a work-placement system intended for individuals who don’t have access to educations or training. There are more than 8000 trainees working for the FRN and over 10,000 volunteers.
The FRN’s work is now universally recognised with an estimated 750,000 low income households benefiting from their recycling schemes. And according to their website, they’ve so far managed to help people save over £300 million when purchasing furniture or electrical goods. But it’s not just the financially constrained who reap the benefits. By encouraging the re-use of furniture, the FRN substantially relieves the burden placed on landfill sites and reduces hundreds of thousands of tonnes of CO2 each year.
The Furniture Re-use Network provides an encouraging example of how a modern organisation can go beyond its remit to help encourage community cohesion and provide opportunities for the disenfranchised while at the same time protecting our planet’s future.
Re-use is a fantastic way t dispose of old furniture, but if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to rid yourself of unwanted junk why not contact Junkwize, we’ll collect and dispose of your rubbish in a responsible way. Smarter. Greener. Safer.