If you’re looking to dispose of your old furniture, here are networks and charities that can be of help.
That hideous, heavily stained sofa you left outside your house certainly didn’t go unnoticed. What with the disapproving looks of people passing by, having an opinion about the piece of dumped furniture that’s giving the neighbourhood a bad look? Well, I became very uncomfortable myself by the next day.
The sofa belonged to me. I had just dropped it on the pavement in front of my house hopeful that it’ll be whisked away by someone who needed it. But that didn’t happen and I can understand why.
However, I have to take responsibility for taking the lazy and easy way out of dumping stuff on the street and thinking someone else would take it upon themselves to properly dispose of the TVs, chairs, tables, bookshelves, sofas and other household items.
In the part of London where I stay— and, certainly, all around the UK — there’s an easy but faulty way to dispose of furniture and it has become quite popular over the years: dumpsite visitation. Then again, the council calls it, the ‘centre for household waste recycling’.
However, such visits aren’t fun. In fact, it can be quite depressing. First, you have to deal with the long Saturday morning queue to get in as cars in their different sizes gradually ease their way up the ramp and then get into the dumping ground proper, where lots of huge bins are waiting to be filled.
The dumpsites have different dumping areas for different kinds of rubbish, for instance, garden waste, household waste, timber, electrical waste, etc. I find the electrical goods container for the most part, disturbing.
Items such as radios, toasters, microwaves, heaters, printers, computers, video recorders, flat-screen TVs -all still in good conditions- are thrown in together and the people doing the tossing appear to be getting a kick out of it.
So, people feel good with themselves because they think they have de-cluttered, forgetting that in about a year and a half, their shiny, brand new TV will meet the same fate as soon as a newer model comes out.
When I shared my shameful sofa experience to a colleague of mine, she immediately introduced me to The Freecycle Network. Up until that point, I had never heard of them.
The Freecycle Network was founded some 13 years ago in Tucson, Arizona. Today, they operate in 110 countries and have about nine million members from all over the world. According to the organisation, its members comprise a charitable movement of people, giving and receiving items for free in their locality and also ensuring that the good stuff are kept out of the dumpsites.
It costs absolutely nothing! All you have to do is join a local group FOC (they might need to work on simplifying the registration process though, found it a bit tedious), and then if there’s anything you wish to dispose of, you simply post it in the group.
There are volunteer moderators who screen each item posted and the members also have a means of making specific requests from fellow members.
Some people may find that giving away unwanted items through charity shops might not be as easy as going to the dumpsites, especially as parking space is a major problem, but it is a very effective method of recycling and you’ll also be supporting a good cause.
However, there are other alternatives. If you want to find out if there are suitable charity shops close to you, Charity Retail Association is your surest resource. The Charity Retail Association was created in the 1990s under the umbrellas of the Charities Advisory Trust and currently enjoys the support of over 8,300 shops countrywide.
It also offers useful advice. For instance, if a shop close to you no longer has enough space for furniture, it’ll ask you to contact the Furniture Re-use Network or electrical goods.
According to the CEO of Furniture Re-use Network, Craig Anderson, ‘we’re like a furniture bank, in times of hardship, we’re here supporting low-income families or people going through some tough time.’ They already work with over 200 charities.
They believe that getting rid of properties by destroying them makes absolutely no sense, especially when some families are sleeping are in need of those items. When people want to dispose of unwanted goods, rather than think of how it might benefit someone else, they just think of getting rid of it.
This is of particular concern to the Furniture Re-Use Network because they know that over ten million household items are disposed of at the dumpsites yearly, of which some three million could be salvaged and reused by the less privileged in society.
Kate Blake from Too Good to Waste says they have about three vans that go out daily in South Wales alone and they always return filled with discarded furniture.
There are so many people who get rid of their sofa because it no longer fits the new paint colour of their living room. They are usually still in perfect condition and so it’s better to find it a new home rather than sending it to the recycling centre.
Alternatively, Andrew Waste offers furniture disposal in London. You can contact them today on 0800 779 7688