Household furniture comes in all forms, from metal and plastic to wood and fabric. While this gives plenty of options for interior decorators, it also complicates the disposal process. As a rule of thumb, your best bet for old furniture is to repair if possible, donate if available, and recycle as bulk waste as a last resort.
Furniture Recycling Preparation
- Make sure your furniture is free of all personal items. If it’s a dresser or desk, empty the drawers. For couches and chairs, remove the cushions and check for loose change or receipts.
- Determine the base material of your furniture. Patio furniture is usually made of metal, whereas desks and tables are often wood or synthetic wood. Couches and chairs are typically upholstered in linen, cotton or leather.
- For furniture that is mostly metal, you’ll want to contact a scrap metal dealer to see if it can be picked up for recycling.
- For all other forms of furniture, call a local secondhand store to see if your product can be donated. Even if your furniture needs repair, many stores will perform these functions and resell your items. You can also list your furniture on sites like Craigslist or Freecycle, or sell it at a garage sale. Don’t donate or sell furniture if it’s come into contact with bedbugs or lice, though.
- If no stores will pick up your furniture and you can’t haul it to a recycler, ask your community if it provides bulk waste collection. Most cities specify bulk waste pick-up for large items like furniture, appliances and/or electronics at least once per year, but you’ll need to schedule collection.
Frequent Furniture Recycling Questions
If your furniture is mostly metal and not upholstered, you should be able to recycle it as scrap metal and make money. However, you’ll have to drive it to your local scrap dealer, because companies won’t pay you and pick up furniture.
- 9 Ways to Refinish Wooden Furniture: Before you look to get rid of furniture, here are some ways to give it a fresh look
- Buy Furniture With a Future When You Shop Sustainably: Tips for buying eco-friendly new furniture
- Reuse Challenge: The Cardboard Chair: A guide to make your own furniture from sustainable products like cardboard