Style Files

April 20, 2022

Eco-Friendly & Sustainable Options for Disposing of Furniture

How to get rid of unwanted furniture.

The time may come that you are ready to replace your furniture - and disposing of the old furniture to get ready for the new furniture (maybe even a Tandem Arbor sofa ;) ) can be a challenge. Given that Tandem Arbor has a strong focus on being environmentally friendly, we suggest when the time comes to get rid of the old to make way for the new, you look for an eco-friendly way to dispose of your furniture, whether it’s a sofa, bed, chair, etc. With this guide, our custom furniture experts help you decide what to do with your unwanted furniture and how to do it efficiently.

First, Some Statistics

To most Americans, it comes as a shock that furniture waste has become such an issue in our country, but the statistics don’t lie:

  • Americans throw out more than 12 million tons of furniture, according to the EPA, each year. On top of this, only a small percentage is recycled and as a result, 9 million tons end up in landfills.
  • Furniture is the least recycled household item.
  • The average time between furniture purchases has been on the decline since 1999 as fast furniture, from stores such as Ikea, has taken over.
  • The growth in furniture waste has far exceeded the country’s population growth in the past six decades. Check out how the landscape of furniture waste has changed from 1960 to 2018 based on stats from the Department of Commerce.

Understanding Your Furniture’s Condition

Now that we understand the stats and the impact of furniture waste, the first step in deciding what to do with your unwanted furniture is to assess the condition it’s in. Let’s review what you should look for when determining the right approach to take.

Comfort and Durability

When determining the condition of your furniture, the support and feel needs to be taken into consideration. If your piece of furniture has cushions, are the cushions starting to sag? To determine this, to see how much resistance the cushions have when squeezed and how quickly they adjust after you let go. If there isn’t much resistance or if there is a noticeable sag, this may mean disposing of the furniture is the right route to go.

Structural Wear & Tear

You also need to consider the quality of your furniture’s fabric. You’ll want to take a close look to see if there are stains, tears or build up of pilling. Ask yourself - is the wear minor/barely noticeable or does this piece of furniture need to be completely reupholstered? If the answer is yes, you’ll likely have trouble finding people interested in buying the piece - disposal it is!

Getting Rid of Furniture Sustainably

To combat the unfortunate environmental impact of furniture waste, it’s imperative that you use one of the eco-friendly and sustainable options to help you part ways with your furniture when the time comes.

Donate It

A great option for furniture still in good condition is to donate it to an organization like Salvation Army, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, and so on. These are nonprofit organizations with locations across the country that sell used furniture in their retail stores. The organizations allow you to drop off your furniture during their operating hours or you can arrange a free pick up to avoid doing the heavy lifting yourself. Don’t forget, if you choose to do this, you can also claim your donation as a tax deduction! If you’d like to donate to an organization local to you that’s outside of the ones listed, a quick google search of “reuse centers near me” should point you in the right direction.

Sell It

If your furniture is still in good to excellent condition, selling it in order to make some of your money back is a great option. If you want to give this option a try, there are several different avenues you can take. Facebook Marketplace, OfferUp, Craigslist and Nextdoor are great easy-to-use online forums to find buyers, especially if you’d like to get rid of your furniture quickly and within local reach. There is a caveat with these platforms though: don’t expect a huge payout. Many users treat these platforms like an online thrift store therefore, they’re on the hunt for deals.

If your piece of furniture was an investment piece, or an antique, and still in great condition, Chairish could be a re-sale platform that better suits you. Via Chairish’s consignment program, you can list your vintage or used furniture that will then get visibility to serious buyers and even collectors - this would likely result in a larger payout than what you’d see on Facebook Marketplace and similar.

Recycle It

Due to landfill overcrowding, many cities and states now offer eco-friendly recycling programs to help people safely dispose of their used furniture. Some of these programs will even arrange a pick up if you aren’t able to take it yourself. If you need help finding a recycle program in your area, Earth911 has a great locator tool - just ensure that the program or center you find will take furniture. Once you find a center in your area, simply load it up in your car and drop it off or arrange a pick up if it’s offered.

Junk It

Sometimes the best and most accessible option is to dispose of your furniture via a junk removal service. Don’t worry though - junk removal companies have the means to properly break down and dispose of your unwanted furniture. A great perk is that if you have other items you need to dispose of, you can likely get it all picked up at once, depending on how large each item is. If you’d like to go this route, check out LoadUp or 1-800-GOT-JUNK! They both offer junk removal across the United States.

In closing, we’d like to extend a thank you to you for looking for sustainable ways to dispose of a piece of furniture that you’re ready to move on from. With this one simple act, you’re having a positive impact on our environment! Whether you decide to give the piece a new home via donation or re-selling, any of the options above are better than dumping it in your trash or a dumpster you can find.

Now that you’re on the road to disposing of your furniture, are you ready to replace it with custom-made, environmentally conscious furniture? Check out our range of living, bedroom, and dining collections!

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