Environmental consciousness has become increasingly popular, and every new year comes new resolutions toward creating a more sustainable lifestyle. One of the first things we often think about changing is our daily routine of food, travel, and activities. Another is how we deal with our waste including our furniture.
Chances are, your furniture was made from wood, metal, and various plastics. Perhaps you’re at the cusp of getting rid of it, so we thought we’d give you a few pointers to consider before doing so. This article will also give you an idea of what exactly happens to furniture in landfills and how big of a problem this is.
Why are landfills a bad idea?
Because furniture items are complex and made up of diverse materials, recycling them is a lot easier said than done. Furthermore, they’re usually crafted using chemicals that harm the environment. All of these contribute to the grave danger that is the landfill. But how harmful are landfills exactly?
In an actionable guide to furniture disposal written by environmental strategist Thara Kesavapillai, she fleshed out how harmful landfills have become. She stated that toxins, leachate, and methane emissions are landfills’ three most direct and destructive consequences. Toxins, particularly those from hazardous waste, seep into the soil and pose a long-term threat to people and the environment. Leachate is a highly poisonous liquid that pollutes the surrounding land, groundwater, and waterways.
Methane is one of the most formidable greenhouse gases, being 30 times more dangerous than CO2. In the United States, landfills emit more methane than 20 million passenger vehicles driven for an entire year. Yikes! You can see why it’s a terrible idea just to have your furniture picked up and dumped in landfills.
So before you toss your furniture…
Furniture disposal can stem from various reasons, including end-of-life, damage, a desire to keep up with changing aesthetics and trends, boredom, relocation, events, or seasons. What constitutes a suitable amount of time or reason to discard an item is subjective, but the harm it may cause to the environment is absolute.
Therefore, rethink, review, and balance your motives against the environmental consequences. You may choose to keep your furniture as is, or you may want to look at some of the two other steps described below.
Furniture restoration is the act of returning an object to its original, pristine state without affecting its structural integrity or original look. Deep cleaning, aesthetic repairs, or even a coat of original shine to make it seem fresh are common non-invasive efforts.
This option is best for dealing with an older, structurally sound item that will last for a few more years if properly maintained. If you’re restoring an old, sentimental family piece, it’s usually worth the effort.
Refinishing is a step beyond restoration, and you’ll have to get a little more intrusive to save it. This method may be used on various materials, including wood, metal, glass, and plastic. Depending on your passion for the subject, the entire undertaking can be exciting and rewarding. This may even be an excellent way for the whole family to bond.
Unfortunately, our circumstances do not yet permit us to shun landfills completely. Growing populations and economies generate trash that must be disposed of somewhere. Fortunately, there are several things you can do regarding furniture waste. While these steps may need some additional time and thought, they are well worth it when seen in the context of the bigger environmental picture.