Going Green Starting with Home

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Today, we talk about protecting environment through living. It’s actually not difficult to take the first step to go green at home. We can think of the way to reduce the waste, reuse the used products and recycle by donating or selling unwanted items for re-manufacturing. Taking the example of furniture and home appliances, can we donate our old pieces rather than throwing away the appliances that are still functioning well? Can we consider secondhand furniture during purchase as first priority? You can do it as soon as you start to take action.

During the production process of furniture and appliances, natural resources and raw materials are used and emission of chemical in the air is inevitably made from the factories and manufacturers. Wood, which is provided naturally from the earth, is a very popular raw material in the furniture industry. Steel, which is made by mixing carbon and iron at very high temperature, is a dominant component in the home appliances industry. People usually get the items thrown away and buy new items during moving house. Should we stop and think if there is any way to reduce the environmental impact? Do we need to own everything we have at home? How can we reduce furniture and appliances waste to our environment? By going greener, we can contribute a lot to nature.

(1) Rent furniture and home appliances

Renting furniture and appliances is one of the most eco-friendly ways of living we can make and less waste is always good for protecting the environment. Furniture and appliances rental companies collect the used pieces and arrange deep cleaning and make-over with proper check of each item. Companies would maximize their lifespan by revolutionizing furnishings as brand new, trendy and affordable pieces. The furniture and appliance will not go into landfills immediately but get a new and longer life. By recycling, it creates secondhand value and sustainability. There is growing trend of furniture on rent because those benefits are attractive. Toward consumers, it’s affordable, convenient and flexible. They can only pay for the period of using the furniture or appliances rather than paying large sum of money in purchasing all items at one time. Consumers are now not confined to a single location with the same set of furnishings for decades. Another benefit is that the speed of delivery is high and the stock is always available with different options suiting the need of living room, bedroom and kitchen in terms of size, type, material and colors.

Traditionally, longer waiting time is required in delivering new furniture or appliances. In addition, we can change our style of home furnishings flexibly by switching out old furniture. If we use secondhand pieces, it can help slowing down the consumption of raw material from manufacturers due to lower demand of new pieces. There is no need to commit to everlasting furniture. It would definitely help reducing carbon footprint and hence preserving our natural resources and promoting circular economy.

(2) Donate or sell and purchase furniture at secondhand stores

Furniture is the least recycled item in the home. More consumers are now recognizing that overconsumption is harming the environment. There is shift in consumer behavior for shopping secondhand items owing to environmental reasons. To keep furniture away from landfills and extend its lifespan, we should donate the old pieces of furniture to charitable organizations and churches which share and distribute the items to the people in need, such as elders living alone and street-sleepers.

We can kill two birds with one stone i.e. helping others and preserving environment at the same time. As an alternative, we can also give a new life for old furniture by selling to secondhand stores. Both ways can help reducing the demand of new resources and source of waste ultimately. Meanwhile, we can also select and purchase secondhand furniture with variety of choices from secondhand stores.

Secondhand stores not only collect items from the public but also hold out clearance sales from different brands. The goods are properly disinfected and repaired. We can find different stylish brands and types of design. Some may not be available in the retail stores. In fact, good furniture can last for decades and it would look amazing after having restoration.

Except for cost savings, we may also discover something that are special with classic or vintage design or belong to antiques suiting different customers need. Some of the furniture may be unique because they are no longer in production. Customers are surprised by the great quality of some furniture because they are slightly used and their condition is almost new.

In the past two years, there are emerging secondhand online portals and it’s designed with user-friendly interface. There is no need for customers to search through different stores and it’s so convenient to filter different options and find the appropriate one at one-stop shop easily. Those portals sometimes collaborate with other furniture companies which offer more options for customers e.g. ad hoc discount and popup secondhand showroom. Customers can get extra benefits and bonus of savings. Some furniture rental companies may also offer “rent-to-own” option that consumers can purchase their rented furniture. It’s another choice for those customers who would like to own the secondhand furniture after renting for certain period. Customers may feel that the furniture is so great and can match with the style of their home so much. Hence, they would like to invest more money in the spending at home. It’s finally another good example of buying secondhand furniture.

(3) Use recycled material for furniture

Consumers are now more sensitive to issues related to environmental protection such as reduction of carbon footprint. Some furniture manufacturers target to use more recycled materials including products, packaging and production process. Consumers are prepared to pay more for furnishings that contribute to the improvement of greenhouse effect. For those companies with such green furniture concept, it can help raising customers loyalty, upgrading brand sentiment and driving more sales because there is tendency for customers to make eco-friendly choices. It would be a good practice for customers to take note of the products that are marked with recycled and energy efficient symbols.

Furniture is one of the fastest-growing landfill categories. Overconsumption and waste from furniture and appliances are seriously impacting environment. Similar to fast fashion, fast furniture is made with materials that cannot be reused and recycled. The growing problem drives consumer to make change with eco-friendly awareness. During furnishing a new space or decorating the interior next time, please be reminded to explore the refurbishment of existing furniture, secondhand furniture rental or purchase of furniture made of recycled materials. You can also maintain a circular approach for achieving environmental sustainability.


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