Every now and then, you may decide to freshen up the look of your home. One thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of a home make-over, is to replace their old furniture with new furniture.
But while it’s important to give your home a new look, the way you go about it could unfortunately result in a lot of waste and damage to the environment.
Estimates from the U.S EPA suggest that in 2009, furniture made up 4.1% (or 9.8 million tons) of household waste. Other research shows that furniture is the least recycled consumer commodity. The decision by homeowners to throw away their furniture rather than recycle it through methods such as reupholstering, costs a hefty amount estimated at $127 billion annually.
⦁ Picture of a discarded sofa by a waterbody. Picture from theGuardian.com by Silvia Izquierdo/AP
How does throwing away furniture affect the environment?
You may not have thought about it, but every time you throw out your furniture, you are wasting not just the money you used to buy it, but also the resources that went into its production.
Some of the damage you cause includes:
- When you throw out your furniture, you are costing the earth twice the amount of resources.
- Every new piece of furniture made results in cutting down of more trees. The same goes for furniture pieces made of metal and stone as these materials have to be mined from the earth.
- Greenhouse gases are released into the environment during production and transportation of every new piece of furniture.
- Furniture making involves use of chemicals such as glue, paint and wood varnish. These chemicals release gases such as formaldehyde and toluene, which are harmful to the environment, cause allergies and respiratory complications.
- Improper disposal of wood varnish, aerosol cans and glue contribute to soil and river pollution.
- Landfills produce toxic gases. For every 1 ton of garbage dumped in a landfill, 200m3 to 400m3 of toxic methane gas are released into the environment. Methane and other toxic gases accelerate global warming. By reupholstering furniture instead of throwing it away, it means that you help to reduce global warming by reducing the amount of methane produced by landfills.
Picture of landfill at Staten Island. Landfills are a major source of air, water and soil pollution.
Old furniture doesn’t necessarily belong in the dumpster. It can be restored easily by reupholstering. Image from Flickr courtesy of Michael Coghlan
The solution: Save money and the environment by reupholstering
You no longer need to throw away your old furniture when we can re-upholster it the following simple steps:
- We’ll strip down all the existing upholstery to reveal the frame underneath.
- The frame is then inspected for damage and loose joints. If the furniture has suffered some structural damage, it’s first repaired and then reupholstered.
- Springs, webs, padding and stuffing are replaced where necessary.
- The furniture is then reupholstered using fabric of your choosing
We can longer afford to ignore the fact that our habits are causing harm to the environment. Before you decide that your furniture is no longer suitable for your house, give us a call and we’ll help you to transform it to ‘like-new’ condition. You can even go a step further whenever you want to refurnish your house, and buy or reclaim used furniture and we’ll restore it for you by re-upholstering it.