These days, couches and sofas can last for about 10 years, but when it’s time to dispose of your old couch, why should you bother recycling it? In some cities such as Vancouver and Surrey, residents can recycle their sofas and couches with a local recycler. But you may be wondering, what’s the point? If I’ve used a sofa for a decade, it shouldn’t matter how I get rid of it, right?
Wrong – in fact, what happens to your couch at the end of its lifespan can be just as important as how you take care of it during use. Couches can be made out of high quality materials from exotic wood to high-end fabrics. Even cushions and the foam inside of them may be of high quality. It’s a shame to just throw these away in the landfill when a more sustainable option is available.
But if we haven’t convinced you yet, here are some other reasons you should recycle your couch:
1. When landfilled, couches take decades to decompose.
Depending on the fabrics and construction, a couch can take decades to decompose fully. Metal springs or wooden frames take time to wear out in the natural elements. Some couches have been reported to take up to 60 – 80 years to decompose. This is roughly eight times the time the couch has been in use in your home!
2. Couches take up a lot of landfill space.
Couches, due to their size and bulkiness, take up a lot of landfill space. And because they also take a long time to decompose, these pieces of furniture clog up landfills. This makes it harder for landfills to accept additional couches, or items, if they’re almost at full capacity. The only way more couches would be accepted at these sites is if they expand. And these days, expanding a landfill site may damage local ecosystems and natural habitats. When sites get expanded, valuable land is turned into garbage dumps. This is not sustainable, especially for all the couches that get dumped in landfills these days.
3. Couch recycling reduces illegal dumping.
Recycling your couch reduces the number of couches dumped illegally on the side of the road. Couches can also be found in parks or behind alleyways, or in forested areas. People would dump them there, instead of disposing of them properly. Being able to recycle couches provide an additional option for local residents if landfilling them is impossible.
4. Materials in a couch can be toxic when it decomposes.
The materials used to make a couch can be toxic when it starts to decompose. This occurs for all couches whether they are in landfills or dumped illegally on the side of a road. Many couch fabrics have been chemically treated. The wood and metal too, when they decompose, can cause a variety of problems. For example, wood could attract pests and bugs. Deteriorating metals could react with rain and sun. The entire couch, when decomposing, would turn into toxic sludge that seeps into our soils, and into our groundwater.
5. Couch recyclers support local economies.
Because most specialized recyclers are locally owned and operated, they support local economies. A city and its residents become more self-sufficient if a specialized recycler can thrive. For example, taking a couch to a recycler supports local jobs when you pay for the recycling. Instead of having the couch sent to a landfill, where it either sits there, or gets shipped overseas for dismantling, a local couch recycler would keep valuable materials, reduce emissions, and support the local economy.
We have given these five reasons to recycle your couch. We hope this has been a helpful blog post. If you are wondering – how do I recycle my couch? Check with your local municipality if they know a recycler that takes your old couch for recycling.
Or, if you live in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, consider booking a residential pickup for a team to haul away your old couch for recycling. You can also bring your couch to Canadian Mattress Recycling Inc. for recycling. We’re located on Annacis Island, Delta BC., conveniently located by Cliveden and Eaton Way.
Canadian Mattress Recycling Inc. is a recycling centre located on Annacis Island, Delta BC. Since 2011, we have helped Metro Vancouver residents recycle over 25 million lbs of mattresses and furniture. We have also supported over 90+ organizations through donations and our blogging efforts. Read about the other organizations we have supported in the past.