We’ve talked recently about our new building, where we get to do “deconstruction” of junk to help facilitate recycling.
But what all goes into “deconstruction”? Well, it all depends on how far one is capable of taking it.
Consider a couch. A standard couch is a pretty simple structure, but there are a number of things in there that have to be dealt with separately.
First, looking at the couch, there’s almost always fabric covering most of it. That fabric usually covers the sides and the back, as well as the cushions. Since the cushioned seats are frequently removable, we’ll pull those off first. Usually the cushion covers are zippered, so we can pull the covers off. That leaves us with fabric and foam. We currently don’t have a solution for fabric recycling, but the foam can definitely be recycled – so that can go into a pile.
Now that the cushions are off, we see what’s under them. If it’s a sofa sleeper, there’s a huge metal sub-frame under there. These parts are huge, heavy, hard to compact, and things like those metal sub-frames can damage landfill equipment. This means removing the sub-frame is a high-value activity. We’ll flip the couch over, un-bolt the sub-frame, toss the mattress in our pile of recyclable mattresses, and set the metal frame with our metal recycling.
After that’s done, you’re typically left with wood, fabric, and some more foam. Right now we’re not efficient enough at dismantling couches to make that stuff viable to recover, but what we’ve done above significantly reduces waste and recovers the most high-value components of the couch. If we can develop a way to quickly separate the wood from the fabric and foam (typically stapled / glued / nailed together – hard to dismantle, easy to injure yourself on, and therefore time-consuming to do safely) your old couch could be turned into a pile of fabric, a pile of foam, a pile of wood, and a pile of metal. And if we can get it to that point, the only pile we can’t currently do anything with is the fabric – but we’re working on it!
Of course our long-term goal is that we’ll donate / resell / re-home as much furniture as possible, so we don’t have to deconstruct it. But for the furniture that we need to dispose of, our goal is to be able to dismantle it right here in our facility.
Why go through all that work? Well, when you consider that the useful lifespan of a modern couch may be 5-10 years, that means every adult will likely go through at least 4 or 5 couches in their lifetime. Now imagine each and every person you run into every day, and imagine what we’re putting into the landfill. These are huge items, and most of their components are recyclable! Imagine every couch in the landfill being turned into a tiny little pile of leftover fabric, and you’ll have a hint of our ultimate vision for our deconstruction efforts.
Are we there yet? No. As we mentioned above, we can recover cushions & metal right now – but every little bit helps. We’re still working through our process, and figuring out how to maximize both our space and our efficiency. Our goal is to be able to deconstruct as thoroughly as possible, to keep as much as possible out of the landfill.
In the meantime, you can rest assured that when you call us for something like couch removal, we’re making every effort to make sure that your old couch not only isn’t a nuisance in your living room anymore, but that it doesn’t become a nuisance in the landfill for future generations.
Give us a call today for the fastest, friendliest, most eco-friendly furniture removal that you’ve ever experienced!