Furniture Needs a Home Too

Friday, November 12, 2010

I was rencently flipping through the uOttawa ‘Research Perspectives’ magazine, and I came across a familiar face. Dr. Variola, a biomedical engineer chose a recyclied desk (the one in the picture) from our recycled furniture program.

Each year, we renovate and optimize spaces around campus; which send an unbeleivable amount of furniture to landfill. This furniture is usually in perfect condition, was very expensive (the average workstation with filing cabinet and task chair has a price tag of about $2,200), and may only be a year old.

A few years ago, we decided to start a program to collect this furniture, and offer it to other depatments on campus (rather than buying the same things). If a department or University service needs to get rid of their furniture, we get it transferred to our storage, where it is sorted and put on display for future university employees. If a university employee is in need of a specific piece of furniture, they come by and choose what would be best for their space. The furniture which is unwanted from the University community and is destined for landfill is then offered to different local charities in need (Habitat for Humanity, Sierra Youth Coalition, etc.).

To give you an idea of the magnitude of this Furniture recycling program, sofar this year, we have avoided sending approximately 15 metric tonnes of furniture to landfill (which is equivalent to about 25 20-yard waste bins, and savings of $192,000 for the University – the avoided costs of not having to buy new furniture and the savings of not paying for landfill fees).


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