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What’s the value in used office furniture? 3 ways to rethink your assets

business boardroom
(© Jirapas – stock.adobe.com)

When it comes to leaving an office space, used office furniture represents an enormous hurdle to any revitalization or relocation project. You have to coordinate the removal and disposal of hundreds, maybe thousands of swivel chairs, cubicles, desks, cabinets, and more. It’s a big chore with very little pay-off.

But a simple shift in perspective can help you reframe your old equipment as assets rather than waste destined for the landfill. With the right sustainable decommission strategy, you can recover value from each item in your inventory.

1. Monetary

First off, let’s talk about used office furniture in terms of dollars. You have a tight budget for your office move, after all. Anything that generates extra revenue you can fold back into this spending plan is worth your time.

If your equipment is in good shape, you can sell used office furniture to businesses in need of new equipment.

Under most decommission plans, you can sell about 20 percent of your inventory. This represents a significant number of items when your office has more than 100,000 square feet, so selling furniture can give a healthy boost to your operating budget.

2. Social

With roughly 80 percent of your inventory remaining after these sales, you can pivot your assets as a charitable donation to benefit community organizations. When you donate old office furniture, you’re giving your cubicles and conference tables a second life at a charity of your choice.

The pandemic hit many non-profits, schools, and charities hard by increasing demand while shrinking their resources. As a result, they may not have the programming dollars to replace essential equipment they need to deliver their services to the community.

By accepting your free office furniture, a charity or non-profit won’t tie up their limited budget on equipment. Instead, they can focus on what they do best.

More still, your in-kind donation is a story-telling opportunity as you share your good deed with shareholders, employees, and your customers. Besides PR, you may even gain another boost to your budget if you can claim these in-kind donations on your taxes.

3. Environmental

Through traditional liquidation methods, the typical office cubicle represents as much as 700 pounds of waste.

Now extrapolate this beyond your single office to include every corporate space undergoing revitalization or relocation projects. Put all together, each year these projects create 8.5 million tons of waste sent to landfill where it leaks toxic chemicals and traps valuable resources.

Under a sustainable decommission strategy, you’ll divert most of your inventory from landfill through selling and donating furniture. What remains can be strategically recycled to ensure ferrous metal, wood, and plastic re-enter the manufacturing cycle. This can reduce the demand for timber, metals, fabrics, and plastics.

Your recycled office furniture not only protects the environment but also insulates your bottom line from costly landfill tipping fees, something that costs businesses in the U.S. $750 million each year.

Your used office furniture is an opportunity

Your furniture and equipment are more than garbage in waiting. Sustainable decommissioning methods like selling, donating, and recycling turn your used office furniture into assets that help you succeed on the triple bottom line.


Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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Augusta Free Press