Refinishing Furniture Prevents Landfill Waste
Refinishing and Reengineering existing furniture pieces prevents hundreds of valuable assets from being sent to the landfills.
“Three R’s” of Protecting and preserving the Environment: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
The objective of “Reduction” is to save consumers and businesses money in reduction of the overall amount of new goods they purchase and consume.
You might be surprised at the amount of energy and natural resource expended in manufacturing, packaging, and shipping new furniture. You can use our customized Carbon Footprint Calculator to estimate what the hidden environmental costs of new furniture might be, but even that doesn’t capture the whole picture!
What about the old furniture you would have to dispose of?
New furniture created today will not be made from solid wood.
Even if you are shopping environmentally responsibly and purchase sustainable furniture, the lifespan of the furniture is still going to be roughly one-third of the amount of wear and tear a solid wood piece of furniture could be expected to last.
This means that in less time than the new goods can be depreciated (Federal tax laws estimate about 7 years) they will need to be replaced. With solid wood furniture, many companies have extended the useful life for as many as three times their amortized lives.
With refinishing, you can get another twenty years out of those sturdy, durable pieces. Keeping your original furniture in use and out of the landfill for another twenty years.
Most of the pieces of furniture you’ve got will be reused with a refinishing project, but what about the pieces that are outdated, such as bulky television armoires?
As the television signal switches from analog to digital in 2009, most of the CRT televisions in use today will be outdated and unusable. With the new wide-screen, flat panel sets, that bulky TV armoire could be wasting space, if it weren’t also providing valuable drawer space or room for a minibar.
Recycling is defined as “breaking something no longer usable down to make something new.” The Refinishing Touch does exactly that with your old TV Armoire. We reengineer and remanufacture the existing piece to make it work for another twenty years, customizing each armoire to ensure that it matches the rest of the suite of furniture in the room.
The Refinishing Touch estimates a savings of approximately 2,250,000 lbs of wood from landfills nationwide since our inception in 1977.
Refinishing Furniture Reduces Carbon Impact
Even “Sustainable Furniture” carries a considerable Carbon Impact when it has to be manufactured, packaged, stored, and shipped to your location.
Across all industries, Recycling and Reusing existing goods requires less energy than creation of new items from virgin materials. This is no different in the case of large-scale, bulk furniture purchases.
As concerns about global warming continue to mount, attention is turning again to the so-called “greenhouse effect” and the gas emissions thought to cause it. Anthropogenic, or human-caused, emissions are suspected to be the chief cause of the greenhouse effect.
Carbon Dioxide. Carbon dioxide is the largest component of human-caused emissions, accounting for 5.5 billion metric tons of gas in 1996, up from 4.7 billion metric tons in 1985. Emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels totaled 1.5 billion metric tons in 1996. (There is one metric ton of carbon in every 3.667 metric tons of carbon dioxide gas.) Consumption of petroleum products to fuel automobiles, burning of coal to produce electricity, and use of natural gas, were the biggest sources of carbon dioxide emissions in 1996. Source: Annual Energy Review, 1997.
- Refinishing Furniture VS. Buying New Saves an Estimated 124.08 Tons CO2 Per Property
- Refinishing Furniture’s Carbon Footprint is .009% of Furniture Manufacturing’s Carbon Footprint
- It takes 1000x more Co2 to make a new piece of furniture VS refinishing it.
Interested in the assumptions behind our Carbon Footprint Calculator?
A Carbon Footprint is a measure of the impact our activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of greenhouse gasses produced, with units of carbon dioxide (CO2)
The equations used are based on an exclusive Carbon Footprint Analysis completed by Carbon Footprint Ltd. (www.carbonfootprint.com)
|100 Room Hotel||CO2 Produced||CO2 Produced|
|Furniture Manufacturing||Furniture Refinishing|
|Step 1: Cutting down the Tree||58.3 Tons of CO2||Step 1: Crew Logistics||1.116 Tons of CO2|
|Step 2: Transporting Tree to Factory||2.7 Tons of CO2||Step 2: Furniture Preparation||.05 Tons of CO2|
|Step 3: Cutting Trees into Sections||4.758 Tons of CO2||Step 3: Finish Furniture with Lacquer||.079 Tons of CO2|
|Step 4: Drying the Wood||8.895 Tons of CO2|
|Step 5: Cut Wood to Specification||4.758 Tons of CO2|
|Step 6: Assembly of Wood||7.137 Tons of CO2|
|Step 7: Finishing of Wood||9.862 Tons of CO2|
|Step: 8: Packaging Furniture into Boxes||18.95 Tons of CO2|
|Step 9: Ship Furniture to Warehouse||2.7 Tons of CO2|
|Step: 10: Store Furniture in Warehouse||1.86 Tons of CO2|
|Step 11: Transport Furniture to Client||2.7 Tons of CO2|
|Step 12: Removal of Old Furniture||2.7 Tons of CO2|
|Total CO2 Produced for Manufacturing New Furniture: 125.32 Tons / 100 Rooms||Total CO2 for Refinishing Furniture:
1.24 Tons / 100 Rooms
Let us know if you’d like to participate in our list of vendors and agencies who have reduced their carbon footprint by refinishing furniture with The Refinishing Touch.
Refinishing Furniture Saves Trees
Extend the life of older, sturdier pieces of furniture made from solid wood to up to three times of that of a new piece constructed of composite board, and save more trees.
A few facts about deforestation:
- 95 acres of rainforest are clear-cut every minute. Earth Care Paper Company
- In less than one hundred years over half of the forest has now been cut and burned, leaving whole areas of the earth bare and unprotected, rendering entire regions lifeless. Over fifty million acres of tropical rain forest are destroyed every year, enough trees to fill all of England and Scotland combined. The U.N.’s Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that if the rate of destruction continues, by the turn of the century (2000 A.D.) over one fifth of the rain forest will be eliminated.
- We have already destroyed half of the original rainforest. At the current rate of destruction, we will completely eradicate all rainforests by the year 2050. Earth Care Paper Company
- Today, tropical forests supply about 30% of the world’s log exports, 12% of sawnwood exports, and 60% of plywood and veneer exports. Worldwatch Institute
- Tropical rainforests in the Amazon store 75 billion tons of carbon dioxide in their trees and plants. When the forests are burned, carbon dioxide is released into the air. It has been estimated that 25% of total global CO2 emissions are from the burning of tropical rainforests. Rainforest Action Group
- 80% of the world’s large tracts of ancient forests have already been logged. New Leaf Paper, 2001
- 76 countries have lost all their original forest cover. New Leaf Paper, 2001
Since The Refinishing Touch began in 1977, we have refinished roughly 1.5 million rooms’ worth of furniture. At a rate of three rooms of furniture per each mature tree cleared, we estimate that we have prevented over 500,000 trees from being cleared for furniture production. This does not even take into account the trees used for crates, palettes, and cardboard boxes used in shipping and storage of new furniture!
Refinishing Furniture Protects Clean Air and Water
Non-Toxic Lacquers contain no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) so are hypoallergenic, safe and clean. Patent-pending lacquers produces no fumes, are non-flammable, and non-carcinogenic. This guarantees indoor air quality and safety for our technicians, and your guests.
VOCs are also commonly found in other stages of the traditional furniture refinishing process. The Refinishing Touch uses no solvents in the patent-pending processes for removing old finish, and refinishing the furniture. Lacquers are so clean that no solvents are necessary to clean up equipment!
The EPA on Indoor Air Quality and Organic Gases (Volatile Organic Compounds – VOCs)
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects. Concentrations of many VOCs are consistently higher indoors (up to ten times higher) than outdoors. VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products numbering in the thousands. Examples include: paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.
Organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. Paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. Fuels are made up of organic chemicals. All of these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.
EPA’s Total Exposure Assessment Methodology (TEAM) studies found levels of about a dozen common organic pollutants to be 2 to 5 times higher inside homes than outside, regardless of whether the homes were located in rural or highly industrial areas. Additional TEAM studies indicate that while people are using products containing organic chemicals, they can expose themselves and others to very high pollutant levels, and elevated concentrations can persist in the air long after the activity is completed.
Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans. Key signs or symptoms associated with exposure to VOCs include conjunctival irritation, nose and throat discomfort, headache, allergic skin reaction, dyspnea, declines in serum cholinesterase levels, nausea, emesis, epistaxis, fatigue, dizziness.
The ability of organic chemicals to cause health effects varies greatly from those that are highly toxic, to those with no known health effect. As with other pollutants, the extent and nature of the health effect will depend on many factors including level of exposure and length of time exposed. Eye and respiratory tract irritation, headaches, dizziness, visual disorders, and memory impairment are among the immediate symptoms that some people have experienced soon after exposure to some organics. At present, not much is known about what health effects occur from the levels of organics usually found in homes. Many organic compounds are known to cause cancer in animals; some are suspected of causing, or are known to cause, cancer in humans.
During and for several hours immediately after certain activities, such as paint stripping, levels may be 1,000 times background outdoor levels.