Buying second-hand furniture can help you reduce your carbon impact

If you read our recent blog about WWF’s Environmental Carbon Footprint Calculator and decided to take the test, you may be wondering what more you can do to reduce your impact.

Aside from the heavily promoted and better-known methods, such as recycling and buying less plastic, there are other changes you can make to your habits as a consumer which can make a difference. 

If you are looking to buy furniture, it is a good idea to see if you can find a second-hand item before you buy something new from a manufacturer.

Furniture produces no in-use emissions. This means that the only emissions from furniture relate to those generated by its manufacturer during production and shipping, which are effectively written off when the item is first purchased.

Recent research conducted on behalf of the Auction Technology Group investigated how many emissions could be saved by purchasing various items of furniture second-hand from auctions alone. For example, purchasing a sofa second-hand saved 0.56 tonnes of emissions which means that 7,213 tonnes are saved in total each year from the 12,812 second-hand sofas sold at auctions annually in the UK. You can view the full table of findings here as reported by Antiques Trade Gazette.

Ironically, purchasing second-hand furniture may actually be more desirable than ordering from a manufacturer, with current supply issues resulting in long lead times.

It is also worth considering that vintage and antique second-hand items may be better quality than cheap flatpack furniture, and therefore last longer.

If, like Phoebe in Friends, you prefer authentic furniture with a history behind it, why not check out your local auction house?

Many auction houses now host bidding sessions online, but you can generally arrange an appointment to view items of interest in advance.

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