Demand for furniture is rising in the United States and is expected to reach $68.8 billion in 2022. While it may be convenient to purchase a brand-new furniture item online, buying new furniture is detrimental to the environment.
Although some companies are committing to more sustainable practices, the most environmentally friendly thing you can do when it comes to furniture is to purchase a used item or repurpose an item you already own. Here are the eco-friendly benefits of buying or repurposing used furniture as well as a few tips for restoring used pieces.
The furniture industry is one of the most polluting, least sustainable industries on the planet. By avoiding purchasing new items, you can reduce your ecological footprint significantly. Buying or repurposing used furniture offers the following benefits:
- Less wasteful: Americans discard more than 12 million tons of furniture and furnishings each year, 80% of which ends up in the landfill.
- Help prevent deforestation: Buying new items made from wood means cutting down trees. Deforestation contributes to biodiversity loss, soil erosion, and 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Limits plastic production: The growing global plastic furniture market size was valued at 11.9 billion in 2018. Plastic is made from fossil fuels and isn’t biodegradable. Furthermore, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the oceans each year, harming ecosystems, animals, and humans.
- Reduce carbon emissions: The United States was the leading importer of furniture in the world in 2018. Buying locally used furniture or repurposing an item you already have, will lower your carbon footprint.
Repurpose Used Furniture
If you have an item you’re thinking of throwing away, or you stumble upon a piece that isn’t in great condition at a yard sale or thrift store, consider how you might be able to use it. Depending on the item and your needs, you may also be able to upcycle or repurpose it. For example, a drawer from an old dresser could become a bed for your furry friend.
Tips for Restoring Used Furniture
If you want to use the item as intended, but it’s damaged, it may just need a little TLC. Consider the following eco-friendly tips for restoring it:
- Use nuts, such as walnuts, to get rid of scratches
- Use natural paints and nontoxic finishes to give it a fresh look
- Reupholster the item with eco-friendly fabric, such as organic linen or bamboo
Buying or repurposing used furniture is the most environmentally friendly way to furnish your home. So before jumping online to purchase a brand new TV stand or desk, consider exploring what used furniture items are available near you. You may even be able to upcycle or repurpose an item you already own to meet your needs.
About the Author
Julia Morrissey is a content creator for Apartment Guide. When she’s not writing helpful guides or sharing unique lifestyle tips, you can find her running in Central Park in New York City with her rescue dog Maya or playing tennis.