By Erin Ollila
If you're in charge of purchasing furniture for your office, you're likely also responsible for devising office furniture solutions to deal with chairs, desks, cabinets and other pieces that are past their prime. Luckily, there are many environmentally friendly (and convenient) approaches to dealing with your old furniture.
When you have a few pieces that aren't looking their best, hauling them to the landfill may not be the best solution. Here are five other options to consider.
Before recycling office furniture, ask whether you really need to replace it. Office chairs in particular are often tossed aside too early. Since they're often used for eight hours a day five days a week, the upholstery rips and frays after only a few years. However, simply reupholstering the seat, especially if the cushion is still intact, is one way to save money and be environmentally friendly. Other furniture might also be revived with a little extra care — talk to your furniture vendors about touching up older pieces so they look like new.
Filing cabinets are a great example of furniture that can easily be repurposed. They're often discarded when interior parts break and are no longer able to hold up hanging file folders. However, they often have a locking mechanism, so you can move them into storage to keep old records or outdated tech items secure. Older tables and cabinets that look outdated can also be used in storage areas or pressed into service in non-customer-facing areas, too.
If you're willing to put in the work yourself, list the items with pictures and prices on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp or other local classified-style websites to get the furniture off your hands while bringing money into the business.
If you don't have the time to commit to selling your old office furniture, wait until you've collected a good number of used items and hire a liquidation company to pick them up. While you likely won't get top dollar for this option, you'll know that the items are being reused by another company. Plus, most liquidation companies will do everything from disassembling to moving your furniture out of your space for you.
If you don't want to go through the hassle of selling your aging furnishings, donation is another viable option. You can still place a classified advertisement for the free goods or call a nonprofit company to come pick up the furniture from you at no cost. They will then either donate these items to local small businesses and nonprofits or resell the items in their store to support their mission. Companies like Goodwill Industries, Vietnam Veterans of America and the Salvation Army may be able to pick up large items for you and will give you a receipt for the estimated value of the item.
Hire Vendors for Removal
In this case, hire a vendor with environmentally friendly practices to discard your items. Such vendors will break down the furniture and scrap the metal or resell parts after the furniture is broken down. They also have processes for sorting different materials and then shredding or crushing the items before they're sent to a landfill. Check with the vendors that sold you the furniture in the first place to learn your options.
Choosing the best office furniture solutions for older pieces doesn't necessarily entail having everything hauled away. A more frugal, commonsense — and earth-friendly — solution might be available.