Why I'm Furious #4

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Photo credit: Jonathan Rausseo

Consider, for a moment, the average day of the average office worker...the desks that must accommodate him...the wheelie chairs he must sit in...the counters he must splay things on...the phones he must answer...the cabinets he must put files in...the cupboards he must open....Have the picture? That's what's needed to sustain 1 office worker. Now let's do some multiplication.
  • How many office workers are there per office?
  • How many offices are there per floor?
  • How many floors are there per building?
  • How many buildings are there per district?
  • How many districts are there per city?
  • How many cities are there on the Earth?
Granted, the numbers vary a lot from to city-to-city to district-to-district to building-to-building to floor-to-floor to office-to-office to office-worker-to-office-worker. But multiplying seven numbers together, regardless of how small they are originally, is usually going to have a huge result. Considering the fact that 25 cities alone house 1/3 of the world population, and most people living in highly dense cities work some sort of desk-job... Well, I can guarantee you that those numbers are NOT small and that they most definitely ARE going to have a VERY HUGE result.

There is a lot of furniture in the world....

On Friday Shredder and I went to the 3rd floor of the MacDonald building. 1 floor of 1 building of 1 district of 1 city, among MANY. We asked Brigette what we were doing there.
"We're recycling the furniture"

I look through the offices. The chairs are some of the comfiest I've ever sat in; The tables are some of the coolest I've ever seen.
"Wow! Most of this stuff must be brand new!"
"Yep. Most of it's not even a year old"
"...So...why is it being moved?" I expected a reasonable answer. I was horribly disappointed.

"It's the end of the semester, so the floor is completely refurnishing"
I should be happy, you say, that it's being recycled and not thrown out. I am. In the enviro-world you have to count your victories.

But I can't help thinking about all those chairs, and all those tables, and all those cabinets, and all those shelves, in all those offices, in all those floors, in all those buildings, in all those districts, in all those cities all over the world that must do similar 'refurbishing'. And how most of them, unlike the University of Ottawa, probably DON'T have people like Brigette and Jon who tirelessly insist on protecting perfectly good furniture from the landfill, and probably DON'T have a conviniently nearby outdated, unused, and huge makeshift warehouse with which to store all that furniture in.

I don't have any data to give you about how much furniture we waste in a year; it'd be impossible to track something like that. I'm quite aware, however, of why it's going to waste: it's considered 'tacky'. Why get free furniture when you can get a matching set of Leather La-Z-Boy Recliners at the Brick on sale for only $1299.99?

The University of Ottawa has furnished the entire Katimahouse - A few months ago we picked up our second fridge - for free.

So maybe it's just me, but it seems that people who prefer to waste time, money, resources, and furniture over recycling should probably take a long hard look at themselves before they begin to throw around words like "tact"

-Annux

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