As life goes on, we sometimes find ourselves with surplus furniture that no longer serves our needs or matches our style. Whether
Looking back, moving forward…
As I embark upon my 10th year with Furniture Bank and commemorate our 25 years of commitment to the community, I’m thrilled to look back on our successes and inspired about what we will be able to do over the next 25 years.
The uncomfortable news
Addressing furniture poverty and the environmental consequences of waste in Canada isn’t always comfortable, but as we look to mitigate our current climate crisis and the ramifications of living in poverty, we must consider the following:
- Though it’s easy to take furniture for granted, its presence (and absence!) are both profoundly felt. We understand how clothing, food, and shelter provide us with basic necessities; however, access to furnishings has an equally essential impact on the quality of our lives.
- Furniture poverty is a hidden issue affecting millions of low-income households in Canada, and empty housing significantly negatively impacts family dynamics, social lives, personal well-being and mental health.
- Furniture is the least-recycled item in a household (only 1% of our furniture is not sent to landfill or incinerated), while we spend $120+ billion to re-furbish our homes with new furniture.
- Over 12 million tons of furniture waste in landfills in Canada and the U.S. annually from businesses and households. In Ontario alone, furniture and household appliances account for 5% of the waste stream.
- For Ontario residents, landfill capacity is expected to be exhausted in 9 years and only 5 years if the U.S. blocks Ontario waste from crossing the border.
- Landfills themselves contribute to climate change: over 150 million metric tons of equivalent carbon dioxide are released to the atmosphere per year.
- Most furniture retailers have not invested in reducing waste, creating material Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) disclosures, or designing sustainable circular economy models, which adds to the problem.
The good news
The good news is that this is one social and environmental crisis that CAN be solved when businesses and consumers make intentional choices to keep good things out of landfill. In donating furniture and home goods to Furniture Bank, businesses and households can have a direct and immediate impact on their communities and invest in the critical step in the homelessness equation by turning empty housing in furnished homes (what we call Homing).
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More to explore:
Furnishing an apartment on a budget can be hard—with a one bedroom apartment costing upwards of $8,000 to furnish—but there are ways
Do you have furniture taking up space in your home that could be put to better use? Are you looking for an