After 20 years in the construction industry fitting out corporate offices, Gordon Bateup was sick of seeing perfectly usable office furniture being sent to landfill, simply because it was out of style, or an office block was being demolished.
So he decided to come up with a solution.
“Essentially it is diverting unwanted furniture from demolition projects and de-fits and connecting it to not-for-profits, charities and community groups who need to fit out an office and don’t have the budget,” he told Tom Baddeley on ABC Radio Perth.
“And it’s as simple as that.
“You sit there and think ‘Someone should do something about this’ and then I thought, ‘Well I’m probably that person because I know the industry and I have the network to do it’.”
There is no requirement to record quantities of individual products, like office furniture, sent to landfill in WA. (Supplied: Worlds Biggest Garage Sale)
In less than two years, more than 123,500 kilograms of commercial furniture has been saved from landfill in Western Australia through Mr Bateup’s project GreenChair.
About 14,900 items of furniture have gone to 200 WA-based not-for-profit organisations, charities, and community groups in desperate need of office furniture.
“This is expensive product, some of the commercial furniture that I’ve been seeing — chairs, tables, workstation storage — is basically brand new, it’s absolutely amazing how good this furniture is,” Mr Bateup said.
“A building owner rang me and said ‘Look, I’ve got 8,000 square metres of carpet in our basement – the carpet is being changed in our building and some of it is new, in boxes still’ and we got rid of the lot.
“We couldn’t believe it, we still had phone calls coming in afterwards wanting the carpet because it works on a first come first serve basis.”
Mr Bateup was shocked to see quality furniture sent straight to landfill after corporations rebranded.(Supplied: Unsplash)
Time management key to success
The WA Government does not currently have a specific program in place to recycle used office furniture, and there is no requirement to record quantities of individual waste products like office furniture disposed of to landfill.
According to the Department of Water and Environmental Regulation about 1.7 million tonnes of commercial and industrial waste was generated in Western Australia from 2019-2020.
Of this, 732,000 tonnes was recycled, and 886,000 tonnes was sent to landfill.
Less than half of the commercial and industrial waste recorded in Western Australia from 2019-2020 was recycled.(<span class="_1EAJU _1s6pr _2L258 _1…….