The furniture industry inevitably stays busy because there is always a demand for new furniture. Whether individuals are moving to a new home, or merely replacing old furniture, getting new furniture is something that will inevitably happen to most people. Additionally, as people get more creative, the more elaborate or trendy the furniture needs to be. Fresh, unique designs always seem to be needed. Unfortunately, we may be a little too liberal using the “out with the old, in with the new” mentality because we usually don’t think twice about throwing old furniture away and what happens to it down the line. This is especially true when we move and leave our used furniture behind.
When we replace our old furniture, we have direct control over what happens to it. If there is room, perhaps we find a place for the furniture with the most sentimental value. More than likely, we toss it to the curb. At least then, we know we’re throwing it out and consciously made the decision to do so. With the pro-efficiency movement gaining momentum, we can hopefully see a change in that trend with more people aware of the consequences and opting to find homes or recycling centers for their older furniture.
However, when we move, we’ll often leave some furniture behind that we, “didn’t have time to take out”, “figured the new home owners could find a purpose for”, or “couldn’t bring ourselves to throw out, but didn’t know what to do with it”. Our mentality in each scenario is, “out of sight, out of mind”. What most people don’t consider is that new home owners also want new furniture, not used furniture from previous tenants. They also are not attached to it and are much quicker to find a place for it on the curb instead of a place for it in another home. Therefore, when we move, old furniture overwhelmingly tends to wind up in landfills, some of which was in perfectly working condition, just not appealing to the former owners.
Statistics say that about 40 million Americans move each year and a new survey shows that one-fourth of them will leave behind a big piece of furniture like a couch or bed. This means that over 10 million people will leave behind a piece of furniture rather than try to sell it to a friend, neighbor, or over the Internet. This also means that millions of people would rather leave it in the garbage rather than attempt to recycle it. Some studies have shown that the amount of furniture left in the trash and in landfills equals the amount of 12 Empire State Buildings. That’s a lot especially during these pro-environmental times, and even more when taking into account the many ways to pass along furniture.
It is understood that what was comfortable and fashionable 10 years ago might not have a place in your home now. Times change and replacing it becomes a priority. However, hardly anyone considers that their old furniture might be perfect for someone else or that the pieces can be recycled for other purposes. So we are finding that millions of people are just discarding their old furniture. We all need to be more conscious about what we do with our old furniture so that it doesn’t keep stock piling our landfills. Then, buying new furniture can truly be fun and exciting.