Buying re-used items like sofas and TVs rather than buying new items is saving UK households around £1bn a year and helping to create jobs - but this is just a fraction of the potential shown by new research from WRAP
WRAP report shows increase in household items re-use, such as sofas
The report will launch tomorrow (15 November) and is expected to state that one million sofas are re-used in the UK every year, saving households over £320m pounds.
The research is the first of its kind to quantify the benefits of re-using everyday household and business items and will reveal that this is just 17 percent of the total number of sofas discarded each year.
The environmental benefits of re-using one tonne of sofas are the same as recycling one tonne of plastics.
Jobs have also been created by this new trend, with organisations preparing items for a new life with a second owner. The research shows the potential cost savings for businesses are also significant. Businesses are already saving £6m by reusing office chairs - but this only represents 14 percent of all office chairs reaching the end of their life.
Doubling the number of sofas reused could save more than 52,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent - the same as taking 17,000 cars off the road each year.
Launching the research at WRAP's annual conference tomorrow, CEO Liz Goodwin will say that helping the UK reap the economic and environmental benefits of re-use will be a major theme of WRAP's work over the coming year.
She said: "The research findings are staggering. Current levels of re-use create financial savings to households of around £1bn and reduce CO2 equivalent emissions by one million tonnes - the same as taking 300,000 cars off the road. But in terms of potential impact, this is clearly just the tip of the iceberg.
"The research shows a considerable amount of re-use already taking place in the UK - often through charity shops, online exchange and informally between friends and family. The benefits to household and business budgets could be even greater, for example if there was greater confidence in the quality of re-used products. WRAP will be working to help address these issues."
Goodwin said the report and a new online tool to help work out the benefits of re-use were part of WRAP's work towards identifying the full opportunities.
Another example of potential re-use given in the report is televisions. Less than one in seven are re-used each year. This means 16,000 tonnes of metals, glass and plastics that make up the 1.3m televisions which the current owner thinks have reached end of life are being re-used.
The remaining 87 percent are either recycled or sent to landfill, whether or not they may still be in working order.