To think that you don't get to be smug about recycling...

(55 Posts)
Drowsybutawake Wed 03-Jun-15 11:50:46

unless the majority of the furniture in your house is second hand or ethically sourced?

I was having this conversation with the auctioneer who is clearing out my grandparents' house. He said that the bottom has fallen out of the market for brown wood furniture because everything is so cheap new these days. I just find this really sad - there is so much beautiful/useful furniture out there going to waste just because it is brown. DH is also from a developing country which is being ruined by illegal logging, which breaks my heart.

AIBU to think that sending your rubbish off in a nice green bin to god knows where, or even using reusable nappies or second hand clothes, is nothing to be proud of if your home is full of brand new furniture?

TedAndLola Wed 03-Jun-15 11:56:02

This is the problem with easy 'ethical' choices - they make people think they are doing enough, so they don't think about ethical choices in other areas of their life. There are many people who think that since they recycle, they're doing their bit for the environment and that's the end of it.

On the other hand, unless EVERY decision you make is based on how green it is, you're being unreasonable and hypocritical. I recycle, I chose the lowest emissions car I could afford, I buy used furniture. But I also choose long baths over showers sometimes because I love baths, I use my car when I could get the bus because the bus is more expensive and less convenient, I buy food that has unnecessary packaging because I like the food. I would bet my life savings that you make un-green choices too.

So, YABU. Tell people about the benefits of buying second hand furniture, because they might not be aware, but you don't get to feel smug about buying it unless ALL your activities are as green as you can make them.

penisland Wed 03-Jun-15 11:56:31

Can't say I really care either way. I generally switch off from anyone who goes on about how proud they are of their green credentials.

Bair Wed 03-Jun-15 11:57:38

My Mum bought all her furniture brand new, it's lasted years and she'll get many more out of it. She recycles everything she can YABU.

Cheap stuff from wilko/tesco/home bargains YANBU.
Our furniture is second hand because we're skint and I would rather pay £10 for an unfashionable coffee table that will do me 10 years than £10 on some pretend wood thing that will look rubbish after a year.

Is anyone REALLY smug about recycling though? Round here you're just smug if you don't get your bins nicked, we must inhabit different worlds you and I. grin

Bair Wed 03-Jun-15 11:58:59

Also, nobody fixes stuff any more! I've seen people throw kettles out when a new fuse would have done.

WorraLiberty Wed 03-Jun-15 11:59:00

I can think of many reasons for smuggery but re-cycling really isn't one of them.

If you're concerned about this OP, perhaps you should put the furniture on free cycle instead of having it auctioned?

GobblersKnob Wed 03-Jun-15 12:04:58

Most of the areas forest being chopped down at an alarming rate are to make room for grazing for cows to fuel the worlds fast food habit, not to make Ikea tables.

If everyone just did what they thought they could comfortably do, rather than thinking it's a waste of time we would be in a better position, if everyone was prepared to seriously put themselves out that would be great, but we don't really live like that in the west atm.

Why not do something about it? Is there a way you could start a furniture recycling initiative in your area?

Legionofboom Wed 03-Jun-15 12:06:20

But is the whole reason people don't want the old furniture is because it is brown?

When DH and I were first together we had some of my Grandparent's old furniture. There were chests of drawers that only had two drawers then six inches of legs with wasted space to the floor. The dressing table was the same. And the wardrobe was far too big to fit in a modern bedroom.

When space is at a premium modern furniture can be much more practially designed.

That said I am not keen on the throwaway culture either.

formerbabe Wed 03-Jun-15 12:09:03

I have a modern house...old fashioned antique furniture is nicer but would look ridiculous in my house!

SqueezyCheeseWeasel Wed 03-Jun-15 12:09:07

I thought everyone was buying up gopping 'brown' furniture as either 'mid century' classics or to Annie Sloan the living feck out of?

Niloufes Wed 03-Jun-15 12:09:07

Its their life choice, good for them. I'm not too bothered.

MissMooMoo Wed 03-Jun-15 12:13:07

all the furniture in my flat is from the British hearr foundation.
its all amazingly good quality wooden stuff for a fraction of the price brand new.
agree we have way too much furniture floating about, I see it fly tipped in my community everyday

DoJo Wed 03-Jun-15 12:19:00

Who is smug about recycling? Surely it's a matter of putting your rubbish in an identical bin kept next the one you would be using if you weren't recycling?! Apart from anything, if I didn't recycle, my black bin would be crammed long before it would be collected, so it's far easier for me to recycle than not. That said, most of my furniture is second hand, but that's because I'm a cheapskate and like old things ahead of my commitment to saving the planet.

Drowsybutawake Wed 03-Jun-15 12:19:17

Some good points on here, thanks everyone!

Worra we absolutely will free cycle, and furniture recycling projects are also available.

I totally agree that nobody should feel smug really, but I do live in a very naice area and have a number of well off friends who regularly boast about their ethical credentials while gutting their perfectly nice house to fill with new stuff. But that is probably not most people's experience.

It's very easy as you say Legion to get into a race to the bottom where nothing is green enough, but I just think the furniture thing is such a quick win vs the cost.

woolymum Wed 03-Jun-15 12:21:07

YABU. if people are made to feel like they are "failing" at being green because not every aspect of their life has been environmentally assessed for perfection then you run a big risk of putting people off doing ANYTHING environmentally friendly because of the "what's the point" attitude that i have seen a lot of.
personally i try the best that i can but there are times that i pick the 'bad' option because finacially that is all i can afford or i don't have the time/energy.
there are massive markets for upcycled goods and positive changes should be encouraged but not everyone will want the over sized welsh dresser riddled with woodworm or a bed that 7 generations have died in

prepperpig Wed 03-Jun-15 12:23:13

Gosh you must be joking! The price of Brown furniture has rocketed in the past year or so due to all the Annie Sloaners out there. I have been trying to buy some 1980s repro bedside tables for DS on ebay and the cost is more than buying new stuff!

echt Wed 03-Jun-15 12:24:44

Most of my furniture is inherited, from charity shops or off the nature strip.
On the other hand my white goods: fridge, dishwasher, vacuum cleaner and washing machine are top of the line, so what does that make me, OP? hmm

Drowsybutawake Wed 03-Jun-15 12:25:03

Gobbler yes you are quite right, I am no longer veggie and I am aware that this is an easy fix...

On the other hand a lot of people know that for eg. Imported beef is bad for the environment.

Before I started reading up on this I had no idea that the majority of high street chains import wood via China and therefore have no idea where the wood comes from, and that it is most likely from destructive logging in Indonesia, Burma etc. I just don't think enough people are aware of this as an issue. Or rather, I was aware of it, but I assumed it was a problem for other countries and that our wood would be better regulated. Which is why I started the thread.

Drowsybutawake Wed 03-Jun-15 12:26:54

Echt I'm no expert but I think white goods are better new cos of energy efficiency? So you are brilliant ;-)

Theycallmemellowjello Wed 03-Jun-15 13:08:42

Yes, it also annoys me when people who fly abroad (or indeed not abroad) on holiday get sanctimonious about recylcling. Massively hypocritical.

ToysRLuv Wed 03-Jun-15 13:13:20

Most new furniture bought is not made of wood, as such. It's chipboard and plastic. Also a lot of pine (crap furniture wood, as it's too soft and looks battered instantly) is used, which is generally fairly responsibly grown stuff. I'm afraid that is all we can afford for DS now that we are looking to change his room from a pre-schooler's into one suitable for a boy in P2 (mid sleeper, desk, etc.). I would love proper wood furniture, but it is branded "vintage mid century style" and costs the earth around here. Also like someone already mentioned, it's often not making the most of the available floor space (half a metre of legs with one or two drawers).

ToysRLuv Wed 03-Jun-15 13:17:54

We have no car, but can't be smug about it as we travel by plane at least twice a year to see my family abroad (short haul, though). TBH, I don't think any of this makes much of a difference compated to industry emissions in the developing countries. <shrug> One way or another I get the sense we are doomed unless something radical happens (I do not mean Westerners recycling their cereal boxes).

prepperpig Wed 03-Jun-15 13:24:22

The quickest way to turn people off recycling and thinking about these issues is to tell them there's no point in doing anything if you can't do it all.

Personally I think we're all screwed if we keep acting like this, using up the planet's resources and not spending enough time thinking about the long term, however I'm still about to book a holiday to Italy.

I will however keep recycling, buying second hand furniture, using canvas shopping bags, burning logs for heating rather than oil, buying local produce where possible, using solar chargers and lighting, growing our own food, reusing fabric for cleaning cloths, planting wild flower corridors for the bees, ensuring my house is well insulated etc. I'm doing a bit even though I can't do it all and saying that's wrong is just silly.

RachelWatts Wed 03-Jun-15 13:31:59

My parents donated some good quality wardrobes to a charity once, but then said they never would again.

The men who came to take it away broke it up instead of letting my DF at it with a screwdriver (they turned up early) and by the time they'd finished with it and thrown it on the van, it was only good for firewood.

Theycallmemellowjello Wed 03-Jun-15 13:34:30

To be clear it is definitely not wrong to do a little but I specifically have a problem with sanctimoniousness. I was struck by it in a conversation with some other mums where one if them was complaining that people in her building were not sorting the rubbish properly, she was thinking if leaving a note, why are people so ignorant etc. conversation then turned to her upcoming hol on the med (they were flying). I wanted to point out that you could recycle for 20 years and it wouldn't outweigh the carbon impact of a flight to the south of France but held my tongue.

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