Furniture waste is a problem and we can do something about it!

Updated: Nov 1, 2020

Unfortunately, we have become accustomed to waste. It is far easier and cheaper to place an order for a new item than it is to get one second-hand or repaired. Facebook Marketplace seems like the place to get your items at discounted rates whilst helping the environment if you have a car. Alongside the delivery difficulties, you have to schedule the right time to collect and risk losing it to the quickest buyer. Then, you are left scrambling through the listed posts, hoping to find a suitable replacement. Eventually, you cave in, 'I might as well buy a new one' you say to yourself. The 'I might as well' mentality is the problem, there is simply no incentive to use, reuse, upcycle furniture item and this is a problem.

So, you might be thinking, how big is this problem? To give you an idea, BHF estimates that a third of UK adults throw away furniture which could be recycled or reused. This problem is even more prevalent in cities like London where nearly half of Londoners (45%) have thrown away good quality furniture and other items.

But why would rational humans throw away items in good condition? According to those surveyed, the most likely reasons for binning unwanted items instead of recycling or donating were; not having the means to transport it (20%) wanting to get rid of things as quickly as possible (16%) and finding it easier to take it to the dump (9%). So, the 'I might as well' mentality not only follows us when we purchase the items but also when its time to get rid of the items.

However, I do not blame these furniture owners. This is a calculated decision. There is an incentive to buy new items and to throw away. The rise of 'fast furniture' is how businesses such as Ikea continue to maintain profits and popularity. There is little to no incentive to recycle, reuse or sell. I recall after finishing my undergraduate studies, it was time to get rid of the items. The small bookshelf and chest of drawers were sold after arduous advertising although they had been used for less than a year. We had two beds and could not get anyone to buy or take for free in time. In the end, we were left with no choice but to pay a rubbish collection service to collect the items. I hate to think that these items ended in a landfill. It was very bewildering to me that we would pay to get rid of an item of value. It is like I give you a birthday gift and you ask me to pay you for giving you the gift.

For the past three years, I have faced the same problem whenever I move to new cities. My friends who are predominantly international students continue to face this problem too. The system of acquisition and disposal of furniture has failed to keep up with the needs of the 21st-century consumer especially travelling students. We simply need more flexibility. Flexibility allows us to rent the unfurnished flat that we really want. We do not feel forced to send items to landfill or sell at a loss on Facebook. When its time to leave, flexibility allows us to hop off to our next destination around the world without the baggage of furniture.

Oxfurnished is a new way to buy furniture for short-term use. You can purchase items at discounted prices proportionate to the intended length of use. When you are done, we buy back the item at 10% of the purchase price. We offer delivery and collection services so that you can put your time and money in the things that matter, living life!

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