Waste warning over 'fast furniture' that is thrown away

Campaigners say they are worried too many of us are throwing out furniture, simply because we want a change, even when the items still have more life left in them. They say we need to end the culture of thinking flat pack is disposable which results in unwanted wardrobes and bookcases ending up in landfill rather than being recycled or reused.

Research by Nested shows that across Europe the UK is second only to Germany for how much it spends on giving homes a makeover. Recently that has been partly caused by installing home offices during the pandemic, but our living rooms will be redecorated on average once every two years and our bedrooms will also get a makeover every two and a half years. The average person spends £330 a year on redecorating which often includes new furniture.

TV handyman Tibby Singh, who features on programmes including Money For Nothing on the BBC, is well known for demonstrating how to reuse old items of furniture rather than throwing them away. He hopes that in the same way cheaply made clothes, seen by some as almost disposable are going out of fashion, so too will so-called fast furniture in favour of items we want in our homes for much longer.

Watch more from Tibby Singh including his tips for how to approach a makeover:

Removals firms across the UK have told ITV News that moving house is often the catalyst for people disposing of furniture which will not survive the move.

Ikea is one of the biggest suppliers of flat-pack in the UK and is working on new ways to make its products more sustainable. The firm has previously shared disassembly instructions for things like wardrobes and bookcases but is now buying back some items to re-sell to other customers.

Sustainability is a core theme of many interior design courses which aim to ensure that the next generations of buildings and furniture are made to last.

making sure items in buildings stand the test of time - is now included in many interior design courses.

But if your furniture really does not fit inside your home any more, or your attempts to dismantle it have left it in need of serious repair, there are workshops which specialise in upcycling donations to sell on.

Watch both parts of James Webster's investigation into so-called 'fast furniture':