Nowadays, there is a lot of cheap furniture on the market. Many companies offer affordable, functional, and easy-to-build pieces. They are a good option for people who do not have enough money for buying good-quality furniture, but unfortunately, this kind of furniture has a cost.
Most of this cheap furniture is disposable, so almost all of it ends up in the trash after just a few years. This has become a problem: an estimated 10.3 million tons of waste in Europe is old furniture. In the last few years, this has evolved into an environmental issue. Let’s take a look at how cheap furniture is affecting the environment.
Cheap furniture and the environment
Fast furniture is a cheap and acceptable quality option considering the price. The problem is that they are quickly damaged and must be replaced periodically. Most people just throw the damaged furniture in the trash and buy a new itemk.
Fast furniture is made of low-cost materials, and it is mass-produced. The way it is made also reduces packaging, transport, and storage costs.
In 2017 46% of Spaniards bought a table, sofa, bed, or bookshelf, and this trend continued to increase during and after the COVID-19 pandemic when most people spent a large amount of time at home. As you can imagine, the old furniture ended up in the garbage.
Furniture waste includes wood, metal, plastic, foam rubber, and glass. Foam rubber and plastic are very polluting. In the case of wood, the carbon stored in the furniture is returned to the environment when it is burned.
To top it off, recycling is uncommon, and reuse is restricted to small-scale, private, or social purposes: most people prefer to buy new furniture rather than repair pieces that broke. Besides, the investment by companies in the management and collection of used pieces is low, just like the demand for second-hand furniture and recycled products.
However, there is more awareness about the environment, especially among young people. They are looking for more eco-friendly alternatives to cheap furniture, such as sustainable furniture and renting.
Sustainable furniture and renting
Recycling or renting furniture are the most affordable and eco-friendly alternatives to cheap disposable furniture.
Renting furniture gives you the possibility of having great furniture at a competetive price. You can rent it for as long as you need it and then return it once you do not need it anymore. Rental companies are always repairing and recycling furniture. This way they extend the lifetime of the furniture.
However, if you want to own your furniture, building it yourself may be a great option. You can use recycled materials such as wooden boxes, chairs, tires, pallets, bed bases, etc. if you use your creativity you can make amazing, very durable pieces by spending little money.
If your budget is a little larger you can buy sustainable furniture. They are generally handmade with organic, non-toxic, recyclable materials such as cardboard or wood. These materials are generally locally sourced, and responsibly harvested.
Either way, ther are options to fight against the environmental destruction caused by Fast Furniture. It just takes some thought from the consumer!