Looking to repurpose your office furniture
We are all familiar with the three of the four Rs of waste management, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle”. It has become a common waste reduction practice for California businesses since the campaign ignited in the early 90’s. But what about the fourth R? There are many ideas out there about what the fourth R should be, depending on the industry: remix, recover, rebuy, reclaim, rethink are just to name a few. When it comes to office furniture, we suggest repurposing as just the ticket to hitting your goals.
Here are some reasons people don’t repurpose
- Its Specific Use No Longer Exists. Too often, office furniture is seen or remembered for only the area previously occupied or the purpose it served – like the “stations from the Accounting area” or “Jerry’s desk.” Once that use or purpose fades, the equipment is seen as orphaned or in the way; except for the nice chairs that are so quickly rolled away to new cubicles, that is.
- It’s Easier to Buy New. Furniture dealers and retailers are more than happy to keep selling you more of this “specific” use equipment, rather than dig into what can be salvaged and put into the mix needed today. It is easy and clean to specify new furniture and the profits are nice, too.
- Furniture Design is in the Eye of the Beholder. When managers or even users are able to “shop” for furniture, they pick what they like, plain and simple. But just like art, tastes are different. A commitment to repurposing starts with the original purchasing decisions.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind . Landfilling – Since office furniture is not disposed of in the standard office trash cans, most of us don’t realize how much of it is sent to landfills.
Three things you can do to start
- Start thinking of your inventory as a product on a shelf or a resource to be reused and you’ll be amazed how quickly it finds a new home.
- Put thought into what users can buy to enable the optimal reuse – manufacturer, colors, styles can be standardized for optimal results.
- Work with the facilities teams—a responsible vendor should be at least able to recycle portions of the items if not prevent this all together for all our sakes.
Professional Furniture Storage makes repurposing easy
To avoid the obvious cost of purchasing new product and disposal charges as well as sustainability (Green) issues, firms should use affordable, detailed and organized storage of equipment in a way that it can be seamlessly reinserted back into your future office. This is not the same as storage units packed to the roof with parts and pieces or speed packs in boxes of mystery parts, or leaving product standing hoping some nomadic product team moves in.
Professional storage of your office furniture allows for reuse and repurpose with very little, if any, inspection. Much of that benefit is due to professional inventorying of the product details, such as: finish, fabric, size, powered or non-powered, handed or not handed. With these details available, facility teams can think of their storage as another factory pumping out standardized product to be used alongside or instead of new product.
Another benefit of professional furniture storage lies with systems furniture (cubes) inventory. The reuse of surfaces and storage in walled private or semi-private settings can save a fortune, be super flexible and be installed overnight. Just add legs or peds in the right spot and your pallet bay of surfaces may outfit a dozen users without any concern for power and data.