Modern ways to reduce, reuse, repurpose office furniture
After you’ve acquired the latest office furniture, with added health features and the promise of increased productivity, you’re left with a new dilemma. What do you do with the old stuff? Sending it all off to the landfill is not the most environmentally responsible option. Let’s have a look at some of the things that can be done with old office furniture.
Wooden desks and chairs can be given a whole new lease of life by sanding and re-varnishing or repainting. They can then either be reused in the workplace, or auctioned off online to offset some of the cost of the new furniture.
When in doubt about what to do with old or disused furniture you could always call an office cleaning company who will probably have ideas on the next steps to take. Alternatively, used furniture can be donated to a whole host of organisations that need it. Start-ups will most definitely appreciate donations of furniture and equipment, as will charities.
Some of the benefits of reusing and recycling furniture include:
- It reduces the amounts of raw materials and energy required for the production of new furniture, in effect preventing unnecessary pollution
- By saving materials and energy, fewer greenhouse gases are emitted, reducing your organisation’s contribution to climate change
- Saves money on the procurement of assets
- Reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfills or the incinerator
- Allows products to be useful for their entire life cycle
- It gives an opportunity for charities to acquire furniture
Reusing, Recycling and Reducing is Good for the Office – and the Environment
Giving your office an occasional makeover can boost morale and productivity. Getting everyone involved in generating ideas. If items cannot be reused immediately, they can be dismantled into their constituent parts and separated into metal, wood and plastic for example, to be sent to the appropriate recycling facilities. Worktops can have legs attached and donated to be used as dining tables, either by staff or local charities. Stuffed chairs with frames that are still strong can simply have the stuffing and fabric replaced to give them a new lease of life.
Reusing makes good sense too! Old storage cabinets and bins can be used as flower beds, for instance. If a staff member has an allotment where they grow produce, they will definitely appreciate old plastic bins. Virtually everything in the office can be put to use in new ways with some thought.
Another way to reduce your company’s effect on the environment is to reduce the amount of disposable items used. Disposable cups and other cutlery at the coffee station should be replaced with mugs, plates and cups. Buy milk, coffee and other beverages in bulk to avoid disposable plastic sachets. Use washable napkins instead of disposables. In the long run, you’ll be saving money too!
The modern office tends to be less crowded than the typical 20th century office. There is less paper to deal with, as most correspondence is digital. To go with this trend, try to reduce things like packaging. When you do receive a package, save the pellets and reuse them when sending out your own packages. Minimizing also means less space used, which can mean savings in rent. More space also means more room for creativity, hence enhanced productivity.
Take time to research local charities and second hand furniture dealers. These are always happy to buy old but still usable furniture, fittings and equipment, which will offset the cost of the new material you’ve acquired. Don’t forget to start with the people on the scene; your staff! Other options are local shelters and schools. At the same time, you can also opt to be a recipient of things other companies are looking to donate or sell at discounted prices. This helps reduce the overall cost not only in money spent, but also in emissions and energy used in the manufacturing processes.
The Feel-Good Factor
Joining up with other companies and organisations in your area in your efforts to be eco-friendly is not only good for morale; it also helps you build a culture and support network. This good for environmental conservation, too. Whenever you repurpose a cabinet into a flower bed, or perhaps plant a vegetable garden on the roof of your building – which is a super way to insulate a building, by the way – take photos and post them on your social media page! This not only puts you on the eco-friendly business map, but also encourages others to follow your example. What’s more, it will probably attract more business your way.
As the saying goes, one person’s junk is another one’s gold! Think carefully before sending anything to the landfill or incinerator. You’ll probably find that your local power plant will be happy to buy bulk waste off you to burn and produce power. In the end, any and all waste should be of use.