How is the United States Addressing Furniture Industry Waste?
The textile industry continues to pose a growing concern in today’s world as the second most polluting industry. However, it is not just the textile creation process that is harmful to the environment. Furniture items are some of the least recycled products in the world. The EPA estimates 19.6 trillion pounds of furniture is buried in landfills each year (EPA, 2018). This literature review examines the data collected by the EPA and explores the current programs with the specific mission to combat furniture waste. The gap in knowledge exists between the American consumer and landfill waste management. During the 1970s in the United Kingdom, the reuse rate grew from 2-3% to approximately 40% after the installation of 400 third sector organizations that enhanced the partnership between landfills and recycling centers (Curran & Williams, 2010). Sweden currently offers a tax break for all recycled furniture to provide an incentive for larger corporations, such as hotels and corporate offices.
This research explores whether existing programs and procedures being implemented in other countries, specifically targeted towards reducing furniture industry waste, would be accepted by the American consumer. It is imperative that action take place toward reducing the amount of furniture waste in landfills, and the data suggests moving toward a more circular design process, as well as a circular mindset.