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Just 2.5% of people who say they 'always recycle' have refurbished or renovated old furniture

In the UK we're now fairly good at recycling everyday items like cereal boxes, glass jars and plastic bottles, but it seems we could all work a bit harder when it comes to furniture.

Research from Kantar paints a really positive picture for general recycling in UK households:

  • Only 3.7% of people would throw something away instead of recycling it
  • A positive 50.2% of people would always recycle something instead of throwing it away

So over half of us try to recycle instead of heading straight for the bin – that’s great news. But things don’t look quite as rosy when we see that of the 50.2% of us who always recycle, just a lowly 2.5% of us have refurbished or renovated old furniture. Looking deeper into the research, we see that people in the UK love to do indoor DIY, they’re always looking to improve their homes and most think they’re good at fixing things.

 Restoration Furniture Decoration Painting Ideas 1 

But, the amount of people refurbishing or renovating furniture is low within those groups too:

  • 46.3% of people have done some kind of DIY inside their home
    • But only 4.7% of those people have refurbished or renovated old furniture
  • 47.9% of people consider themselves “good at fixing things”
    • Despite that, only 3.4% of these ‘fixers’ have attempted to refurbish or renovate old furniture
  • 31.1% of people are always looking for new ideas to improve their home
    • Just 0.5% of the people who ‘are always looking for new ideas to improve their home’ have refurbished or renovated old furniture.

So why are these numbers so low?

We know people in the UK love DIY – there are countless TV shows and magazines dedicated to the topic – so why do we seem to steer clear of reusing or renovating older furniture? Maybe it’s seen as a bigger job than wallpapering or painting? Something that requires a specialist set of skills or tools? That can certainly be the case with some of the reupholstery work we undertake – deep buttoning and rebuilding springs in an old sofa can be a lengthy job, but just like building a piece of new furniture, you can do it with the right instruction.

  Blue Suitcase Nightstand

Refurbish and renovate more = throw away less

At Plumbs, we’d like to see more people have a go at skills like reupholstery and refurbishment; it means we can put less old furniture in landfill and make some really great pieces at the same time. Our team are putting a video together to show you the reupholstery process from start to finish and you can expect to see this live on our site very soon. We’ll link to it from this post as soon as it’s complete.

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Together we can try and improve these figures, perhaps even taking the low, single figure percentages into double figures!

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Refresh you décor with Upcycling

Mixing old with new isn’t exactly a fresh idea in interior design. Over the last few years we’ve seen classic French furniture and ‘shabby chic’ grace interior design magazines and homes. This look however is a much different take.

Looking through trends for late 2013 we have begun to see classical ornate furniture and delicate flowers against bare flooring and modern accessories. The floorboards and grey walls are softened with eclectic textures, photo frames and traditional chairs. Although we’ve seen aspects of industrial looks before, for example in loft and warehouse conversions, this is a much more grown up and clean look.

 

Upcycled Living room

 

The key to this look is to mix items you wouldn’t normally associate together such as modern silver ornaments and classic portraits.

Up-Cycling

One of the main benefits of a design like this is that it doesn’t have to look perfect; you aren’t restricted to keeping your home like an unrealistic show home, as we all know real life comes with children, grandchildren and pets leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. Inspiration and furniture for your new look doesn’t need to be expensive either, for instance it can even be furniture you already have that just needs updating. The process of up-cycling tired furniture has become very popular in our current economic climate, and as we become more conscious of the carbon footprint we’re leaving behind.

If you don’t have any pieces you want to change how about visiting a charity shop or even getting an item from a Free Site (such as FreeCycle or Gumtree ), then just update with paints, handles, and new fabrics.

 

 

This Luxury Ravello Fabric in Rich Vanilla has given a new lease of life to this sofa whilst respecting the classic original design.

Changing the use of a piece

A very inventive way of up-cycling is to completely change the use of the piece that would otherwise be discarded.

How about taking an old table you’re bored of, splitting it in half and stacking into shelves?

 

 

This old suitcase has been transformed into a beautiful and very unique chair that would have been cast away, but now will instead sit proudly in any space as a fun talking point.

 

 

If you would like to up-cycle any sofas or chairs with Covers or Reupholstery contact Plumbs today for a free no obligation home consultation, and we can advise you about styles and fabrics for your home!

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Celebrate Earth Day - Recycle your Furniture!

The US will be celebrating Earth day this weekend (22nd April): a day for pledging your efforts for a greener planet! But who says we should leave it all to our friends over the pond? We can all do our bit to help the environment, and here at Plumbs we're keen to push the message of recycling and reusing old furniture! With landfill space in the UK expected to run out by 2018, now is a great time to think outside of the box and see how you can make your unwanted furniture useable again.

Our primary concern is, of course upholstery. 10 million items of furniture are thrown away in the UK every year. 3 million of these items could be easily re-used; more could be repaired. You'll be pleasantly suprised to hear of the transformations that loose covers and re-upholstery can do to your old furniture. Bringing a fresh new look to saggy sofas or sprucing up your conservatory suite, recycling, or in many cases up-cycling your favourite furniture in this way is great for the environment and great for your home!

Here are some of our recent transformations...


 


Remember, it's not just upholstery that can be kept and made new. Think about other household objects you could renew or repurpose, such as turning old cupboard doors into lap trays, or making a quirky shelf unit from unused drawers as seen on Decorology blog:


Re-purposing, re-cycling and re-upholstering is a win win for you and the environment! So, before considering buying a new suite, sofa or chair, why not arrange your free home consultation to see how Plumbs can help you save your sofa and the environment!

*Environmental statistics sourced from Bulky Waste Collection Services.

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Reasearch Reveals Postcode Lottery for Recycling and Removal of Unwanted Furniture

No two councils across the UK have the same policy for removing bulky waste and unwanted furniture.

Extreme differences between policies were highlighted within the research, which found some council policies charging as much as £20 for the removal of a single item, compared with other boroughs which offered free removal for up to five items.



The research is part of our bid get the nation to consider reupholstering and repairing furniture instead of simply discarding it.

Birmingham, Bradford, Leicester, Lincoln, Manchester, Liverpool, Oxford, Preston and Wakefield offer the free removal of unwanted furniture, but with varying restrictions on the number of items and in some cases, type of waste.

Worcester and Cambridge were revealed as the most expensive, charging £16.10 and £20 respectively for the removal of just one single item.

The cost to remove a fridge freezer also varied dramatically between councils, with Canterbury charging the most at £25 while others offered the service for free.

Discounts for those on income support, housing benefits and pension credits were offered by some councils and not by others and in some cases, the time of year affected a council’s policy. In Chester, collection is free during the months of March and April but for the rest of the year there is a charge of £15 per collection.

Chris Plumb at Plumbs said: "According to latest government figures, the UK sends more than half its waste to landfill – that’s a huge 62 million tonnes a year in England alone. By reupholstering furniture, consumers are taking direct and effective action to help reduce our landfill problem."

"The collection and subsequent reuse or recycling of furniture by councils is key to reducing landfill, yet our research shows that there is no consistency across UK councils with some waste policies coming out more favourable than others."

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