How office furniture can work in the circular economy
According to the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), around 1.6 m tonnes of furniture is thrown out every year in the UK. About 300,000 tonnes of that furniture is reusable, according to sustainability-focused media brand edie. UK businesses contribute significantly to these statistics, with a large amount of office furniture ending up in landfill.
With businesses increasingly mindful of their responsibilities when it comes to reducing their environmental impact, many are searching for a more sustainable solution to replacing their office furniture. To do this, they are turning to a new and thriving circular economy.
This circular economy is keeping items of office furniture in use for longer, and reducing the need for the manufacturing of new items.
What is the circular economy?
Traditionally, the production of furniture follows a linear model; the extraction of materials, the manufacturing of the furniture, and its disposal at the end of use. But a new model is emerging to rival this throwaway status quo. The circular economy for office furniture extends the useful life of chairs, desks and their constituent materials. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, the circular economy is founded on three principles:
- Eliminating waste (i.e. chairs ending up in landfill) and pollution (from the manufacturing process)
- Circulating products and materials while they are still at their highest value
- Regenerating nature
The circular model allows businesses to sell or donate furniture into the economy which are then repaired, repurposed and remanufactured to be resold to other businesses. These businesses would then donate that very same furniture back into the circular economy when they are done with it, continuing the cycle. Businesses that embrace the circular economy are helping to tackle climate change and create new jobs, while enjoying the financial rewards of refurbished office furniture.
Benefits of embracing the circular economy for office furniture
Sustainable and environmentally friendly
The circular model enables businesses to purchase refurbished furniture that is guaranteed to have been repaired and remanufactured using recycled materials and at a fraction of the environmental impact of newly manufactured furniture. In an era where sustainability is increasingly important to many organisations’ vision of their future, the contents of their office space is a good place to start.
When businesses want to dispose of furniture, they can use the circular economy as a sustainable option instead of disposing of it. This way, they can recoup some of the original cost of the furniture and help other businesses fit out their office space with sustainable assets, rather than simply letting them end up in landfill where they benefit no one.
The circular economy brings various financial benefits for businesses alongside the environmental positives. Firstly, businesses can sell their unwanted furniture into the circular economy. Disposing of office furniture costs businesses considerable amounts each year, whereas the circular economy enables them to sell furniture they’ve exhausted their use for, to reinvest in new assets.
Secondly, the cost of refurbished office furniture through the circular economy is considerably lower than purchasing newly manufactured furniture. For example, remanufactured desks typically cost 30% less than new, and remanufactured chairs cost approximately 80% less. This enables businesses to buy higher quality, designer furniture than they would otherwise be unable to afford new.
The repair, remanufacturing and repurposing of office furniture in the circular economy allows far greater flexibility and freedom for personalisation for businesses to enjoy. Businesses can make requests to suit their specific needs, with a growing number of companies dedicated to remanufacturing office furniture. This way, businesses can have sustainable and affordable furniture that perfectly fits the aesthetic of their office.
Office Resale and the circular economy
At Office Resale, we are a part of the circular economy for office furniture. Our award-winning Renew Centre is dedicated to remanufacturing, refurbishing and repairing desks, chairs and other office furniture.
We also sell a huge range of refurbished office furniture from the best brands. Businesses can kit out their office with designer furniture at a fraction of the cost of new. What’s more, the furniture we stock is manufactured to be remanufactured and recycled again and again, meaning you won’t need to send it to landfill.
Interested in getting sustainable, affordable and high quality furniture that is sourced from the circular economy? Shop our range of refurbished office chairs from the best brands, or contact us to discuss how we can refurbish your office’s existing assets to any requirement.