Cradle to Cradle – A Philanthropic Afterlife for Office Furniture
According to the NSW Government, almost 50% of Sydney’s waste is generated by the commercial and industrial sector, yet only 28% of this waste is recycled. Good360 is working with Better Buildings Partnership (BBP) to alleviate the strain on Australian landfill and give office furniture and products a second life.
An enormous contributor to Sydney’s poor waste and recycling statistics is office de-fits. This is where an entire office space is emptied (de-fitted) of furniture, appliances and products and, in most instances, taken to landfill. Why would anyone do this?
It is currently far too cheap and easy for a company to have an office de-fitted, demolished and dumped rather than recycled or transported to a new location for reuse. This means that there is no incentive to deter companies from abusing landfill.
Too often lease arrangements dictate the lifespan of office furniture and materials. A culmination of the barriers mentioned above deters companies from extending the lifespan of de-fitted furniture. Here lies the tragedy.
Finding a Solution
Pressure is placed on designers to conjure methods for producing recycle-able products. But what about the 4 million m2 of furnished office space that already exists in Sydney? Research from the University Of Technology Sydney’s (UTS) Institute for Sustainable Futures showed that the average life of new office furniture in Sydney is 5-15 years, ranging from as low as 2 years. Clearly, this high turn-over rate creates an enormous surplus of near-new office furniture and materials that is constantly flowing from offices in and around Sydney CBD.
What is the Answer?
The UTS Institute for Sustainable Futures study claims that there is currently very low demand for second hand or recycled materials. It was identified by researchers and Better Buildings Partnership that education and changing attitudes are two key barriers to success for the re-use and recycling of office furniture in Sydney. Companies de-fitting, contractors conducting de-fits and prospective de-fit recipients (other companies, NPO’s, schools, individuals and more) all need to be educated on the options available to them. If your furniture was offered a philanthropic afterlife, wouldn’t you consider it?
Educate. Spread the Word.
Good360’s GivingPlace will soon feature products available from current office de-fits. Good360, in conjunction with BBP, has already directly connected more than 12 organisations with over $50,000 worth of salvaged goods from office de-fits. Tonnes of quality furniture, appliances and electronics have been salvaged from their path to landfill and given a new life.
To read the study by the Institute of Sustainable Futures publication click here
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To give your office furniture a philanthropic afterlife email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information of sustainable practices and corporate social responsibility please call Good360 on (02) 8594 3600.