What do you do with old furniture?

What should you do with your old furniture? That’s a question you can’t avoid when you’re planning for a new furniture installation in your residence hall.

But, for a lot of reasons, it’s hard to find an answer.

First, you’ve just gone through an entire process to select a furniture manufacturer. Then you have to make countless decisions to arrive at the best design, establish your budget, get buy-in, and evaluate the sustainability credentials of the new furnishings and oversee the delivery and installation.

It’s a long process to get to the point when you finally submit that purchase order.

And then, when all of that’s done, it hits you. You need to find a way to deal with all your existing stock of furniture that you’re replacing.

You Have Options

What you may not know is that you have some great options—especially with solid hardwood furniture. And not only that, DCI can help you do it with a clean conscience while offsetting your costs at the same time.

In essence, you can do the following:

  • Donate it
  • Resell it
  • Recycle it
  • Upcycle it
  • Throw it out

At DCI, we’re passionate about preventing waste and giving furniture a second life to keep it out of the landfill. And the beautiful thing is that, with a little planning, you can give wood furniture a second and third life.

That's not the case with residence hall furniture that's made with cheaper materials like laminated wood, which—although attractive—you can't recycle or easily repurpose because it's not durable, and it's filled with toxic chemicals like formaldehyde.

Instead, you have to send it to the landfill where it literally sits for a thousand years since it can't decompose.

Inspiring (And Ethical) Examples

In contrast, we work directly with all our clients to develop a tailored plan for getting rid of their old solid wood furniture in the most sustainable way possible.

Over the last several decades, we have repurposed enough furniture to fill over three hundred 53-foot containers. All of that was solid hardwood furniture that we diverted from the landfill.

1. Reselling & Reusing

At Pepperdine University we coordinated the donation, resale, and reuse of their furniture. First, we delivered much of it to Habitat for Humanity ReStore for resale.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are nonprofit home improvement stores and donation centers that sell new and gently used furniture, appliances, home accessories, building materials and more to the public at a fraction of the retail price.

Then, we resold an additional 250 sets of Pepperdine furniture at a significant markdown to a small private school that needed furniture but lacked funding.

That was a major win-win. Pepperdine profited financially, they disposed of their furniture ethically, the private school got furniture it couldn’t otherwise afford, and the biosphere was spared more waste. You can read the full Pepperdine Sustainability Case Study here.

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