Queen's University

Furniture Reuse Program new solution to an old problem

 
2009-11-24

One person’s trash is another’s treasure. A timeless and perhaps overused expression, but one that Queen’s is adhering to for its Furniture Reuse Program (FRP).

The program is designed to help manage furniture on campus in a more socially and environmentally responsible way by redistributing unwanted items to other departments and local charities.

“The FRP has outfitted my laboratory with pieces of used furniture that meet my basic needs” says Christopher Bowie in the departments of Psychology and Psychiatry.

“I had lots to choose from and, within 48 hours, the equipment was moved to my lab in a cost-efficient and environmentally conscious manner.”

Departments can donate unused furniture by contacting Queen’s Waste Management Coordinators. Everything from filing cabinets to tables, desks and chairs goes into storage where the coordinators develop an inventory of reusable items.

“Departments needing furniture can visit our storage centre on Barrack Street and then make a request by phone or email,” says Llynwen Osborne, the Waste Management coordinator in charge of running the furniture program. “Items are then delivered at the department’s own expense.”

Since June, more than 50 items have been redistributed across departments and more than 130 items to local charities including Limestone District School Board’s non-profit program, Enviroworks and the Ontario March of Dimes.

“In addition to reducing waste, the furniture program has a hugely positive impact on the community,” says Ms Osborne. “In the last five months, over 4.7 tonnes of furniture have been saved from landfills and extended their life in the workspaces of local individuals.”

And if diverting waste from landfills isn’t enough, as Shelley Aylesworth-Spink at the School of Graduate Studies explains, “They also make our office look more professional and organized.”

Currently, requests for furniture removal can be processed through Fixit. Requests for furniture reuse can be emailed to lrao@queensu.ca
 

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