Recycling office furniture

22 million pieces of furniture are thrown away in the UK every year – and It’s no secret that office fitouts can be a huge contributor to this figure. 

The industry attitude of ‘out with the old’ often results in skips filled with discarded office furniture making their way to landfill. We’ve been exploring ways of challenging this standard by adopting a more sustainable approach. We now work with a second-hand office furniture brand to ensure all operative items can be sold on rather than going to waste.

Donating unneeded furniture sounds like an obvious solution, but it’s still regarded as too time consuming for many within the industry. To give context to exactly how much furniture can go to waste per project, for one single project we were able to donate:

  • 5x operator chairs
  • 8x banks of 4 desks
  • 6x banks of 2 desks
  • 4x single desks
  • 1x curved reception desk
  • 1x boardroom table 
  • 7x boardroom chairs
  • 5x stackable chairs 
  • 17x 2m high storage cupboards 
  • 2 x 1m high storage units with doors
  • 31x under desk pedestals
  • 24 desk screens
  • 1x desk high credenza
  • 2 large 2 person custom made curved booths 
  • 2x eames style chairs 
  • 2x eames style ottomans
  • 1x coffee table

On a standard fitout project, all these items would have made their way to land fill. As many of these items include plastic, they could take anywhere between 20 and 800 years to decompose. A particularly damning fact when we consider that all of it was perfectly functioning and could be used again.

We know this is just scratching the surface, but we are actively finding ways to waste less and be part of a positive change in the office fit out industry. We are Planet Mark certified and dedicated to reducing our environmental impact. Not only are we hoping to make changes within our own business practices, but we want to set new industry standards to positively influence our industry.