The furniture flip that’s saving the planet (and your wallet!)

Universities in the UK are sparking joy with a whole new kind of decluttering, thanks to the partnership between SUEZ and TRACOuk.

University life is a bastion of constant change. Fresh graduates and new students mean renovated dorms, updated offices, and sadly, a trail of discarded desks, chairs and shelves. We live in a throwaway culture and universities aren’t immune. Upgrading furniture and equipment often means tossing out usable items, fuelling the ever-growing mountain of waste.

But fret not for this mountain of ‘rubbish’ is not going to any landfill; instead, it is being transformed into sustainable treasures by SUEZ and The Recycled Assets Company (TRACOuk). Imagine dusty dorm desks transformed into study havens, tired chairs reborn as retro chic accents and ‘vintage’ (read: ancient) filing cabinets getting a second chance to shine.

A (sustainable) match made in re-use heaven

The genius partnership between waste management wizard SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and re-use champions The Recycled Assets Company (TRACOuk) has paved the way for ‘campus castoffs’ to get a new breath of life. This joint undertaking is creating a win-win scenario:

For the planet: By diverting furniture from landfills, they’re reducing waste and lowering carbon emissions. Think of it as giving Mother Nature a much-needed hug.

For the community: Quality furniture gets a new home, making it affordable for those who need it. The result? A feel-good ripple effect.

For your pocket: When you donate your unwanted furniture, you get a 25% rebate from SUEZ on the resale value and pay less for waste disposal.

The re-use advantage

  • Re-use creates a circular economy.
  • Rebates rewards customers for responsible choices.
  • Quality second-hand users get great deals and save money.

Universities leading the charge

Prestigious educational institutions in southeast England like Portsmouth, Southampton and Bournemouth universities are jumping on board. They have already given over 11,000kg of furniture – from reception desks to comfy couches – a second lease on life. That’s like saving two adult male elephants (in furniture form) from captivity or poaching.

In March 2022, SUEZ collected 260kg of furniture, including helping University of Southampton and Bournemouth University give new life to 750 chairs. An 80kg reception desk has already been sold with the university enjoying a £18 rebate.

Why should we care?

This project is not just about furniture and it’s certainly more than just a feel-good story. It’s about changing how we think about waste. It’s a practical step towards a circular economy, where resources are kept in use for as long as possible. By reusing furniture, we are cutting down on waste, reducing carbon emissions and creating a system that’s better for everyone – all the hallmarks of SUEZ’s commitment to people, planet and profit.

It's easy to feel overwhelmed by the scale of environmental challenges but even small actions can have a huge impact. So, next time you’re tempted to toss out that wobbly chair, think twice. It might just find a new home, a new purpose, and contribute to a brighter, less wasteful future.

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