How to dispose of old furniture in an eco-friendly way

How to dispose of old furniture in an eco-friendly way

It's lovely to get a new sofa or bed when the one you've lived with for years gets too uncomfortable for further use. But out with the old means where does it go.. not onto the corner of your street in the dead of night and certainly not to landfill. So what's the answer?

Funnily enough, the question 'how am I going to get rid of it?' means a lot of us live with large pieces of furniture for longer than we'd like to.. which is good from an environmental point of view. So before you buy a new sofa, armchair or mattress, you need to what's going to happen to the old model.

Twenty and even 10 years ago, lots of us would ring that man with a van and get them to come and take away our unwanted stuff and we wouldn't give a moment's thought to how it would be disposed of. But as we strive to live greener lives, we can't turn a blind eye to where our unwanted possessions end up. 
 
Recycle your furniture
 
Firstly, if you dislike your sofa because it's uncomfortable and shabby, ask yourself if might like it again if it were reupholstered and recovered in a new fabric. It is amazing how the grimmest looking chair or sofa can be transformed in the hands of a skilled upholsterer. It may cost more to go down the reupholstery route than picking up a cheap sofa in the DFS sale, but the latter will be full of foam and it won't last anywhere near as long as a reupholstered piece of furniture that has already proven its worth by lasting you for several years or even decades! It is greener to re-use, to re-purpose.
 
Mattresses are more problematic to get rid of if they're full of PU foam, which is why so many of them do still end up in landfill. In which case do your research as there are companies that will take foam mattresses and chop up the foam for re-use, perhaps as stuffing, for insulation, etc.
 
Going back to furniture, you can advertise it on Freecycle because upholsterers/upcyclers may be only too happy to take it from you. And some charities such as Crisis have departments that train unemployed young people to upcycle furniture - they may well want that chair or sofa you don't want any more.
 
Reasons to be mindful when replacing furniture:
 
*Recycling/reusing/upcycling conserves natural resources. New furniture requires a lot of wood. It's better to use the wood that's already in use and leave trees in the ground, so they can absorb CO2.
*The less that goes to landfill, the less methane and other greenhouse gases are generated.
*Donating old furniture to good causes helps them out because they don't have to buy new items.
 
If you do need help to get a large piece of furniture out of your home, using a professional furniture removal service that guarantees to dispose of in the most eco-friendly way. Lisa Bates, of disposals firm Ben&Jerry, says it's astounding how much furniture ends up in the dump 'when recycling furniture is made easier than ever. And one of the easiest ways of recycling is hiring a company that will do it for you. It's far simpler than disposing of it yourself.'
 
Not all companies follow the strict guidelines of being 100 per cent eco-friendly, which is why it's important to do your research. Take the time to ensure the company you're working with will guarantee your old furniture will be disposed of properly.
 
Donating or selling
 
Donating and selling furniture that is in a fairly good condition is a good alternative to simply getting rid of it. Remember, there's a real buzz around the term 'pre-loved' so don't think that because you might not want something that someone else won't. And people love upcycling, especially wooden furniture which can be painted with chalk paint. 
 
Upcycling
 
There are increasing numbers of upcycling firms, but also remember people love upcycling as a hobby, especially wooden furniture which can be painted with chalk paint, and voila, it's looks as good as new!
 
The mantra is recycle, reuse, repurpose and we all need to do our bit to ensure as little as possible ends up in landfill sites.
 
.
.
.