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Article: The Office Crowd's guide to The Circular Economy of Office Furniture

The Office Crowd's guide to The Circular Economy of Office Furniture

The Office Crowd's guide to The Circular Economy of Office Furniture

In today's office environment, sustainability is becoming increasingly important.
More and more companies are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact, But with so much focus on recycling and composting paper products, have we forgotten about our biggest sources of waste - office furniture?

It turns out that embracing a circular economy can help reduce overall consumption of new materials, while also minimizing our collective footprint.

A Circular Economy focuses on reducing waste and making the most of our resources by reusing or recycling materials whenever possible. This approach is highly relevant in the furniture sector, as it directly addresses the issue of waste production and provides a sustainable alternative to discarding old and unwanted furniture.

The Impact of furniture waste in the UK

It's estimated that around 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded in the UK every year, with a staggering 1.6 million tonnes ending up in landfills. These statistics underline the urgent need for businesses and individuals to take their furniture refurbishment process seriously.

At The Office Crowd, we recognize the importance of minimizing our ecological impact and strive to provide solutions that help businesses and home workers contribute to a greener future for office spaces. Our commitment to the circular economy is embodied in our ten-point refurbishment process. We hope to make the decision an easy one when choosing to buy refurbished.

Step 1- Condition

The first step we take is to assess.

We assess the condition to make sure the piece of furniture is in good enough shape to be refurbished.

Our promise is we do not send a single chair or desk to landfill – anything that can’t be refurbished is ethically recycled.

About 85% of what we receive passes our condition assessment and is able to be refurbished and put into the circular economy.

    Step 2 - Cleaning

    Every item of furniture that comes to us starts with a thorough cleaning:

    We use eco-friendly cleaning and plant-based disinfecting products to ensure the chair you receive isn’t emitting anything harmful.
      Every chair is thoroughly cleaned before we start any refurbishment work. We steam-clean any fabric and vacuum up any dirt or debris that may have been collected in the harder to reach areas.

        Step 3 - Examination

        We then inspect the piece and repair any minor damage:

        This includes testing that the product's standard functions are working as they should, that all screws, nuts and bolts are as they should be and finally joints in the metal frame that need re-tightening or damage to the upholstery is repaired.


          Step 4 - How does that sit with you?

          We check and replace foam padding if necessary. If it is a bit worn out, we replace it with shaped foam.

          The foam padding inside your office chair plays a key role in supporting good posture by distributing your weight evenly across the seat pad.

          So, if the existing cushion is worn out in a chair, we replace it.

            Step 5 - Upholstery

            For seating we then go to work making sure the seat and backrest look clean and new. For leather products, we heat and re-stretch the leather to smooth out any sagging. We then rub in leather conditioner to make it fresh.

            For fabric chairs, we check to make sure the cushion is in good order. For the fabric, we have 100s of office chair patterns that our skilled upholsterers use to cut and re-upholster the seat and backrests, we also use special glues that are environmentally friendly.

            We remove the backing and wrap the fabric, making it like new.
            For solid, or stacking chairs or desks, we do a thorough cleaning of the seat and backrest, polishing out scratches and treating the surface with a special non-toxic cleaner.

            We are often not able to get out deeper scratches or blemishes, but the price reflects the condition of the product.

            Step 6 - The finishing touches

            If your chair or desk has metal arms, legs or backrests, we clean and polish it, buffing out light scratches and marks. Keeping in mind, this is a refurbished piece, and may not be 100 percent like new.

            For painted frames, we re-spray any damaged or marked areas to ensure the surface is refreshed.

            For plastic and wooden frames, we spray and give a light polish, paying special attention to rubbing out any marks or light scratches.

            Step 7 - You're coming up in the world

            When you are giving an office chair or desk a second life, you want to be sure it still has all of the functionality of a new one.

            We use silicone to lubricate every gas height cylinder to make sure it can move up and down smoothly.

            This is a key step that we take to be sure you aren't giving up any functionality when participating in the circular economy.

            Step 8 - This is how we roll

            We check all removable parts, whether it be the arm caps, the castors, or the wheels of a chair, the base, as well as the seat adjustments.

            We have parts for hundreds of the most popular office chairs in stock, and we replace anything that isn't up to our standards.

            Step 9 - Nuts and Bolts

            Once we decide to replace or refurbish the moving parts, We install hardware & fittings: No matter how comfy or stylish an office chair looks from the outside – unless there is proper hardware & fittings installed inside it will not be sturdy enough over time.

            We make sure all wheels are securely attached along with any other necessary parts such as lever arms etc. until everything fits perfectly to be sure it doesn't wobble or have anything loose when you get it.

            Step 10 - It all comes back to us

            No chair or desk gets packed and shipped out without one last check, making sure it is clean and functional and something you will be excited to unbox in your home or office.

            We want you to join our dream of a truly circular economy.

            You are now part of The Office Crowd and the circular economy making little decisions that translate to a huge environmental impact!

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