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Furniture & Non-Electricals

These items are discarded from households and businesses everyday. But if reused or upcycled with care, many of these items can last for decades! 

Did you know over 672,000 tonnes of used furniture is thrown away every year in the UK?
(Source: WRAP)

It is estimated that 10 million items of furniture are discarded in the UK every year, of which over a third are sofas. The rise of "Fast Furniture", like fast fashion, is adding cheaply made and short lived items to local waste streams. It takes up to 1000 times more CO2 to produce new furniture compared to refurbishing, so it's more important than ever to reduce our new furniture purchases, and reuse, and repair what we can. 

(Source: WRAP and RightGreen)

How can you help to save valuable materials and bring used ones back into circulation? We have some brilliant solutions right here in Merton and neighbouring boroughs to reuse, repair, recycle and rent furniture and non-electrical items.  

Reuse

Any household item still in good condition can be reused, either by donating to a good cause,  repairing, upcycling what you already have and love, or selling your pre-loved items to get a bit money. You can also make buying second hand your first choice when looking for a new piece of furniture for your home, or a bike for commuting, to play an even bigger part in reducing waste and carbon emissions.

 

To Donate for Reuse:

British Heart Foundation

  • BHF offer free collections for furniture. Check out the store in Mitcham. There are other stores nearby as well.

 

Dons Local Action Group

  • The local charity collect furniture for redistribution to those in need. Click here to visit their website.​

 

Merton Household Reuse and Recycling Centre

You can take many items in clean, reusable condition to the reuse drop-off point at the Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre:

  • Bikes

  • Books

  • Bric-a-brac

  • Furniture

  • Hand tools

  • Ornaments

These will be sold at South London Waste Partnership Community Reuse Shops in neighbouring boroughs at a discounted rate.

 

Work & Play Scrapstore

​Based in Tooting, this waste reduction charity allows members to take surplus items that have been donated to them. If you would like to donate items, please check with them first.

  • Carpets & offcuts - the carpet must be in a reasonable state

  • Cork and other craft materials

  • Costume jewellery (even broken pieces)

  • Wallpaper

  • Tiles (small quantities) - Tiles may also be accepted by reclaimed construction material vendors. Check out our construction waste reduction page.​

Squirrels Community Scrap Scheme

Based in Worcester Park, this scrap scheme charity allows members to take surplus items for crafting projects. They may also accept donations for redistribution. Contact them for more information.

Paint

 

Bicycles

  • Full Cycle, based in New Malden, accept donations of old bikes, which their team refurbish to sell on in order to fund training and cycling initiatives.

  • You can also donate old bicycles to the Bike Project . They refurbish donated bikes and  give them to refugees and asylum seekers.

Clothes hangers

  • Hangers you have been given by your local dry cleaner can often be returned to them, but check with them first.​

  • Unwanted hangers can be donated to some charity shops who will use them again. Some charity shops like to use the same colour of hanger throughout their shop so check with them first.

Yoga Mats

  • If you are looking to renew your yoga mat, Evergreenyogi seem to accept your old ones to help others in need.

 

Tools

  • Tools with a Mission (TWAM) accept donations of many types of manual tools, (including screws, nails and bolts) that are in working condition to redistribute to six countries in Africa. Check their Tools Wanted list before donating. There are tool collection points in Wallington, Surbiton, and Croydon.

  • Some charity shops may accept used non-electrical tools. It is worth checking with them before you drop them off. Even rusty ones may be accepted by some charity shops (although it's always best to try cleaning them up as best as you can beforehand).

 

Books

Tennis balls

No Merton waste reduction list is complete without a tennis mention - we are the home to Wimbledon after all!

  • Donate tennis balls to local dog shelters or send them to recycle tennis who will do that for you.

  • Recycaball will buy used tennis balls that are in good condition for up to 20p and will either re-pressurize them to give them a new lease of life, or pass them on to charities.

To Sell (or Buy) Reused:

There are a growing number of peer-to-peer selling websites and apps for all kinds of second hand and vintage furniture, homewares and bikes, including:

Charity shops and second hand shops or markets also offer a huge array of furniture and homeware that's 'new for you'. ​

Repair

Repairing a favourite piece of furniture that has become damaged, or fixing your old, well-loved bike can save money and resources. 

Learn to co-fix broken household and non-electrical items with more experienced fixers at a Repair Cafe near you. You can find a list of The Wheel's upcoming repair events here.   

 

There are lots of small local businesses that offer furniture and bike repair services in Merton and the surrounding area. Check out the South London Partnership zero waste map. to find repair services near you. 

Nearby furniture repair services and workshops include:

Abel and Ryan (Wimbledon)

Timeless Upholstery (Wimbledon)

Daniel's Upholstery (Wimbledon)

Wimbledon Upholstery (Wimbledon)

Bee Creative Art Hub (Merton Abbey Mills) offer upcycling workshops.

Nearby bike repair services and workshops include:

  • Dr Bike often hold free workshop sessions to check tyres, brakes and cabling plus basic bike maintenance and advice. Contact Merton council to see when the next session will be held.

Recycle

For non-electrical household items that are not able to be sold on, are irreparable and at the end of their life, there are many options to recycle. Visit Recycle Now to search for how to recycle hundreds of types of household items near to where you live. We've also listed some recycling options for non-electrical household items we get asked about the most.

Pens (working & used)

  • Rymans stores have a collection tub (usually at the front of the shop) where you can drop off your pens.

Spectacles

  •  Specsavers advertise glasses recycling collection at all their branches. Check your local branch for further information.

  • Peep recycle and upcycle old frames from sunglasses and spectacles. You can send your old glasses to them in the post.

Water filters (Brita brand)

  • If you use a BRITA branded water filter you can recycle used filters in collection boxes at most large Sainsbury’s, Robert Dyas and Tesco stores. Some collection boxes allow you to add brands other than Brita, but please check first.

Furniture Take-Back Schemes   

  • Ikea has a take back scheme which offers in-store credit for old Ikea furniture.

  • Dunelm has a scheme called Pass It On where they collect preloved textiles, kitchenware & decor, electricals, furniture & mattresses to be re-used, donated or recycled into something new (scheme runs only in specific stores- check their website beforehand).

Garth Road Household Reuse and Recycling Centre

  • Our local recycling centre accepts many hard-to-recycle items such as mattresses, DVDs, and hard plastics. Take a look at the Merton Council website for a full list of items that can be taken to be recycled there. 

Merton Council Bulky Waste Collection

Rent

Buying less and borrowing more helps to build our circular economy. Renting and sharing homewares and other non-electrical items, rather than buying new items for yourself, can save you money, storage space and prevent lots of waste. There are many community borrowing and rental services, with new ones popping up all the time. Here are just a few examples:

Your Local Reading Library

An old classic that's in need of a revival, our local libraries have hundreds of books to choose from, which saves money and space in our homes!

Morden Library of Things

With items to borrow such as ladders, tile cutters, and gazebos, we can save money and storage space for those items we only need to use once in a while.

Borrow from a Friend

For one-off events, projects or trips, it's sometimes worth asking a friend if you can borrow their items. Items you can share among friends includes tents, serving plates and dishes, large saucepans, paddling pools, and sports equipment.

Paper Recycling Bin

Which type of waste will you reduce next?

So many types of materials can be recirculated to save energy, resources, and money, reducing carbon emissions along the way. Explore how you can reduce waste from textiles, tech and electricals, food, packaging and construction.

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