In focus: Keeping 84% of leftover furniture out of landfill

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Since launching Green Furniture Hub (GFH), many stakeholders have engaged us to sustainably clear spaces in the commercial office sector. These groups include building owners, leasing agents, external project managers, and the tenants, direct or via their head contractors.

On a recent project, a corporate head contractor brought us in to sustainably clear the furniture as part of their make-good – diverting what we could from landfill. We’re proud to say that we achieved an 84% resource recovery on the project, which was a great outcome.

So, how did we do it? Well, below are the steps the GFH and Goals teams undertook.

Audit: Firstly, GFH inspected the site and performed an item audit. In this phase, we determine the different furniture categories, count the items, take photos, assess the condition and decide the opportunities for rehoming. A review of the materials used in the construction of tables and workstations is undertaken and will help determine how we approach the recycling strategy. This exercise also considers the site’s access points and maps how to approach the physical works to remove items from the building.

Marketing: Depending on the lead time, we then create a marketing program and alert our database of customers that furniture will soon become available and invite them to visit our online marketplace. On this project, we had just a couple of weeks for this phase, but it was still enough time to generate interest and allocate some desks, tables and chairs to customers.

On-site logistics: having carried out the marketing program, we could come to the site with a clear plan. In this case, our team labelled items allocated to customers and will return them to our warehouse for future rehoming. We then separated the remaining material for recycling and disposal. Given that we were handling approximately nine tonnes of material across the fit-out, we brought a work crew on Day 1 to dismantle everything. We returned on Day 2 to remove everything from the building.

Relocation: our trucks were then busy dropping particleboard timber tops to the timber recycler, metal legs and components to the material recycler, and returning the items identified for rehoming to the warehouse. We then dispose of any material that can’t be recycled or re-homed.

Reporting: our corporate clients are typically working toward net zero targets across all aspects of their building operations. Given that we track the different pathways of the materials, we could report back to the client the following 84% resource recovery, encompassing.

  • Item take-back by GFH (96 x items) – 3.47 tonnes
  • Metal recycling – 2.38 tonnes
  • Timber recycling – 1.78 tonnes
  • Disposal – 1.50 tonnes

Since relocating items back to the warehouse, GFH has re-homed most of these items with 16 small businesses. In the process, we’ve extended the furniture’s lifecycle and delivered an ESG outcome. Now, that’s a step forward in the circular economy!