With the nation growing more conscious of its waste, the UK managed to reuse 3.7 million pieces of furniture and electrical items.
As seen in our sofa removal guide, there are plenty of options when it comes to reusing bulky waste. Certain bulky items like furniture lend themselves to being easily reusable. They are sought after items that are often looked after, which keeps them in good condition even when they are being replaced.
You would think that items like baths may be difficult to sell once used, but you’d be wrong. If in a good condition and removed carefully you’ll be able to sell your used bath. There's a large market for used baths, showers and other examples of bulky waste that you may be surprised by.
The rising popularity of sites like Gumtree, Freecycle, Sphock and Facebook Marketplace allows many items like chairs and tables to stay in the economy, instead of going straight to landfill. Many people rely on opportunities like these as you can quite easily furnish a home purely from second-hand items, which are a fraction of the price of new items. Many tips around the country have set up their own shops where you can purchase perfectly usable items that were originally destined to the bin.
Your old bulky waste can also go on to support a charitable cause. Plenty of charities around the UK will accept items like desks, stools and chairs if they are in a good condition. Keep in mind that not every charity will be able to accept these items, so make sure you perform some enquiries before turning up with a mass of bulky items. Items like sofas and furniture will also require their fire safety label to still be attached or else they cannot be legally sold.
What happens to bulky waste & how is it recycled?
Here are a few examples of different ways in which bulky waste can be recycled and how the materials may be used in the future.
Bear in mind that with a Clearabee collection, over 95% of the waste will end up being recycled.
Once dangerous items like compressors are removed, the fridge enters a giant shredder. The powerful blades and chains of the shredder will tear the fridge down to more manageable pieces of plastic. The plastic produced by recycled fridges is that of a lower quality grade than most. This means it can't be used for items like drinks bottles but often goes on to be used in cheap plant pots.
Like a lot of bulky waste, the carpet needs to be shredded. This is so the individual materials can be separated as the carpet may have components made of nylon and cotton. These separated materials can then be used to make items like cushions and more carpet.
Similar to carpets, mattresses must be broken down and their different materials must be separated. This is why items like glass bottles are so easy to recycle, as they’re only made up of one material. Mattresses are intricately designed products, so a lot of the time these different materials will have to be picked out by hand. Metals are valuable when it comes to recycling and some can be retrieved from the mattress by magnets. The metal from your humble mattress could then go on to be used in cars.
Figures from the US show that the average TV width was 23 inches in 1997 and in 2018 the average screen width was 47 inches. What was once something you could easily pick up on your own is now a large and bulky item. The plastic shells can be recycled into new products which can be made from lower-grade plastics. TVs can also be home to relatively valuable metals like copper which can be recycled into pipes, wiring and much more.