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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!

Joanna Whitworth
Home Decor enthustiast and employee of Plumbs Loose Covers and Reupholstery.
UK-wide service
UK-wide service
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Family business
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Made-to-measure
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Over 800 fabrics
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