Resource: Purchaser Standards: Reuse of Office Furniture - Incorporation into the 'Quick Wins' criteria
This report aims to determine the furniture industry's capability incorporate reused office furniture as part of a package of options for procurers. As well as gaining an understanding of the size of the industry, different business models were assessed.
Wednesday, 2nd December 2009
The office furniture industry in the UK is valued at approximately £680 million per year. Government procurement accounts for 9.6% of this market (£65 million). Defra estimated the value of Government spend on furniture across departments to be £1.2 billion at the last audit in 2004, though no further breakdown of categories was recorded. This equates to around 15,800 and 19,200 tonnes of office furniture per year.
Furniture's environmental impact largely occurs during manufacture and disposal (in particular the production and treatment of raw materials used). Any extension to the product's life will reduce its overall impact. A typical bill of materials includes metals, wood, plastic and textiles. The recovery of these can lead to reduced economic and environmental cost, with claims of up to 95% of energy and natural resources conserved over the manufacturing process.
Although - historically - remanufacture of office furniture for resale into a corporate environment has been limited in the UK, opportunities are available. By stimulating market growth through enforced minimum procurement of reused products, the processes described here have potential to be highly successful business models. Barriers to progress are listed, but the major recommendation centres on setting central governement reuse targets.
By setting future commitments, a clearly defined policy toward the reuse of office furniture will be demonstrated, enabling the industry to respond with confidence to the challenge of supplying reused furniture.
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