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Office furniture: from second hand to first choice

12 April 2018

Recycling is frequently thrust upon us as the default option for all purchasing. It can generate a sense of guilt in anyone who even dares to purchase a new product; to mark them out as betraying the earth.

Grim pictures of landfill sites and fly-tipping stacked with old tables and chairs are intended to persuade us of the significant virtues of re-using, re-purposing or just not throwing things away until they fall part.

Within this drive to have us think green, however is there actually an argument that considers the benefits case for purchasing recycled products. Office furniture is a case in point.

Let’s start by slaying some of the recycling myths. Old concepts of second hand furniture are obsolete. That means furniture that is stained, scratched and largely looking tired are concepts we need to consign to the past.

The market for recycled office furniture is not full of businesses prepared to compromise on quality; rather they are looking for lower costs.

In fact, it is difficult to see exactly what the concession is here given that the customer demands are as high for second hand furniture as they are for new.

The second myth is that you must be prepared for your office to be a myriad of colours and styles because there is no way that any supplier could fit out a whole room, let alone a business with matched furniture.

Whilst companies in this sector can supply products individually they also hold stocks of up to 100 pieces per set.

There is no need to fear your clients will believe they are entering a garage sale when they visit because the options for furniture supply are the same regardless of whether you buy new or not.

The last of those common myths is that the leading brands will not be available and, if they are, they will be near end of life.

The truth is that there is very little demand for the battered items of this myth but a requirement that stock includes the best brands that clients have come to trust. To meet this need means to offer a full range of options.

In keeping with new furniture, they will be no less maintained or in a poor state of repair. This is simply high quality office furniture, pre-owned. Myths put to bed, though are there any reasons why second hand should be first choice.

Ross Dutton from 2NDHND says there are: ‘Cost is key. Recycled furniture is cheaper and often at staggeringly reduced prices which should keep the finance team happy and support your bottom line.

'Reductions in cost compared with new can run as high as 75% but with no compromise on quality. We bundle this with 12 month warranties on many of our items. That makes the point that sellers have great confidence in the quality of what they can offer’.

Roll out 75% reductions across all your office furniture needs and suddenly a complete refresh of your current office looks financially viable. You can pass on your current furniture to a charity knowing that you are not contributing to the growing waste mountains.

In fact, you are preventing them. The green cause is a worthy one, however, as Ross points out. ‘

Aside from meeting your own eco-goals for the business it is a substantive contribution to reducing our collective carbon footprint’.

Wrap, a charity working for the sustainable use of resources, emphasised this point reporting that providing 1 tonne of desks to a reuse network can result in a net greenhouse gas emission saving of 0.2 tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent compared to landfill.

They go on to state that businesses are estimated to spend £9 million per annum disposing of desks to landfill in the UK alone so buying recycled and reconditioned office furniture means both an emissions and financial saving.

The question stands, then as to why recycled office furniture would not be your first choice.

Second hand does not mean a compromise in quality but it just might mean a reduction in spend and carbon impact.

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