SUMMARY OF RESEARCH
Looking at all sources of furniture reuse in the UK it does quantify furniture bank operations.
Furniture Re-use Organisations (FRO) are social enterprises or charities that receive items (predominantly furniture and large electrical goods) which are refurbished – if required – and sold on, at a low price, to households and families in social need. Increasingly, many of these organisations are adopting a dual pricing system, allowing those (who do not otherwise qualify) to purchase goods at a higher price. The principal aims of these organisations are typically social rather than environmental, including the alleviation of poverty and the provision of training. There are an estimated 370 FROs in the UK, of which around 225 are members of the Furniture Re-use Network, a national organisation that represents the interests of FROs and provides member services.
Donations, including from manufacturers and retailers, are the main source of items for FROs, but other sources include working with local authorities to deliver bulky waste collections and to pick up reusable items from HWRCs.
Sales data from the FRN membership survey, weighted up to account for the sector as a whole, shows that, in 2011, the FRO sector moved approximately 64,000 tonnes of domestic furniture and almost 3,000 tonnes of office furniture into re-use. Weighting this by population for England gives 56,000 tonnes of furniture re-used through this pathway.