In a 2018 study done by the local government, it was found that Hong Kong generated 5.95 million tons of waste, with 42% being contributed by household waste.
South China Morning Post also recently reported that, “The amount of waste residents produce has risen in years, and in 2018 hit the highest level since records started in 1991, with each Hongkonger sending 1.53kg of trash to landfills each day.”
Another study done by a group of students from Hong Kong Baptist University points out that furniture makes up roughly 27% of bulky waste, citing an average of 342 tons of wood waste a day. That’s equivalent to almost 2,000 sofas!
These numbers make it startlingly clear that besides government-mandated laws, programs, and efforts to stem this issue of municipal solid waste, we too have to do our part to be more aware of our furniture disposal habits and make more conscious decisions of how to go about it.
Here are some of our recommendations to help you reduce furniture waste in Hong Kong.
1. Rent furniture
Besides being easier on your wallet and bank account, renting furniture completely eliminates your need to dispose of furniture when you either move to another place or decide you don’t want to keep a piece of furniture anymore.
Føerni in particular, makes sure to maximize the life cycle of each piece of furniture to prevent furniture waste and help the environment. With Føerni, if you decide you don’t want to keep your sofa, bed, chair, or table, you can swap it out for another piece or simply have us pick up your furniture items free of charge.
2. Repurpose or upcycle
Before making the decision to throw that old-looking table out, try to see if you can creatively repurpose or upcycle it. Perhaps you could use the wood for a frame, convert the table to a workbench, or use it as a decorative mantelpiece instead.
In an ideal situation, you would want to keep on repurposing and upcycling all your furniture items to extend their lifetime for as long as possible. If you’re at a loss for how to do so, Pinterest offers many tips and tricks for repurposing and upcycling your pre-loved items.
Looking for more sustainable and eco-friendly ideas for your home? Read more here.
3. Try reselling online
Another way to get rid of furniture without contributing to furniture waste is to resell your pieces online. While a certain level of good maintenance and usability is required to resell, it shouldn’t be that hard to maintain your furniture if you follow this easy guide.
Try joining home and furniture related Facebook groups or Facebook Marketplace and forums like Asiaxpat to sell your second-hand items. You can also check stores like 2nd Chance and Proper Furniture that buy high-quality second-hand furniture for reasonable prices. When posting online, don’t forget to include details like a photo of the item, the item’s current condition and age, as well as its measurements. Another popular site is Carousell, which you can use to buy and sell used goods.
4. Donate used furniture to charity
If you’d rather skip the hassle of selling an item or would rather donate your used furniture to charity, here are a few you can check out:
Crossroads Foundation: Crossroads has very specific items which you can donate, though they ask that the items be usable without any visible wear and tear. Items you can donate include bunk beds, sofas, wardrobes, tables and chairs, and other electronic gadgets and accessories.
Green Dot Home: Like Crossroads, Green Dot Home prefers items that are usable without any visible wear and tear. They prefer bed frames, sofas, coffee tables, book shelves, office tables, and TV stands.
Happy Shop: Happy Shop on the other hand, has a wider range of items that they accept, ranging from beds, cabinets, tables, chairs, sofas, office furniture, and even mattresses.
Chu Kong Plan: Chu Kong Plan is another NGO that is constantly in need of headboards, bed frames, mattresses, dressers, closets, tables, chairs, sofas, coffee tables, lamps, and night stands.
GoodCity: GoodCity is actually a mobile app that is supported by Crossroads Foundation. Just take a photo of the items you intend to donate, wait for a reply, and help arrange transport. It’s easy to use and requires minimal effort.
It’s always good practice to send a photo of your unwanted furniture to the charity or NGO of your choice so that they can determine whether they have the space to accommodate your items. Some even offer free pick up, depending on the number of items you have.
5. Pass it on
Another option is simply to pass on an old item to a friend or family member. Maybe they’re looking for a second-hand sofa or bed but are having trouble finding one that will match their budget. Opt to give them your pre-loved pieces to help them out.
Utilize your network to see if there’s anyone looking for second-hand furniture pieces. You can even create posters which you can send to your family and friends, or invite them to your home to test out the furniture for themselves. Whether it’s someone you know or a friend of someone you know, it’s always better to pass on a piece of your home rather than leave it out for it to be taken to a landfill.
Whether you choose to do one or all of these suggestions on the list, or even have a few ideas of your own, the awareness of our municipal solid waste habits and our actions to help combat it are what matter. At the end of the day, whatever we can do to help contribute to the reduction of furniture waste is counted as a great effort.