The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA) completes a consultation on the measures needed to implement circular economy principles this week. A survey was designed to capture the business opportunities and practical steps that furniture manufacturers and retailers can take in transitioning to circular processes and products.
The project’s scope is expected to be wide ranging aiming to take advantage of opportunities in innovative design, reuse, remanufacturing and material recycling.
A report produced in September by think tank RSA and resources company SUEZ suggests that there is a significant and currently untapped opportunity for the reuse and recycling of furniture. The study found that 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste is sent to landfill annually in the UK alone, 42% of which is furniture.
The FIRA has further estimated that more than 80% of raw materials are waste in the manufacturing process.
All of this research suggests that there is untapped potential, but there has not yet been a clear quantification of the opportunity for business.
There are examples of companies adopting new approaches with relative success. Rype Office provides a range of different options to customers including new furniture leasing, remade and refurbished options. In Rype Office’s model, the objective is to retain ownership of the products and materials as a way of maximising value.
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