“The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change.”
Greta Thunberg’s words rang all too true this Autumn when the IPCC indicated that, although a gloomy future lies ahead, the fate of the Earth is still somewhat in our own hands. Extreme weather, mass extinction, and melting of the Artic ice pose equally ominous threats; yet an overhaul of human behaviour, both systemically and individually, indeed has potential to mitigate much of the destruction.
Unfortunately, mass consumerism is wreaking havoc on our planet. Today's world is only 8.6% circular, meaning that most consumption occurs under the ‘take-make-waste’ linear model; where raw materials are gathered, transformed into products which are used briefly, and then discarded. The fast furniture industry, in which waste and overproduction are rife, is particularly guilty of operating in this harmful manner.
A whopping 10 million tonnes of furniture are discarded annually in the EU, while IKEA accounts for 0.1% of world carbon emissions (the same proportion as the entire Republic of Ireland!) and exploits nearly 1% of the globe’s commercially-harvested wood. Furthermore, the average furniture piece generates approx. 26kg CO2 equivalents, and much fast furniture is also made from toxic, non-recyclable materials.
Thankfully, awareness around the environmental fiasco that is fast furniture is growing, and the used furniture market is predicted to reach $16.6 billion in sales by 2025. However, 79% of consumers we surveyed don't know where to source sustainable furniture. As a result, they wind up succumbing to inauthentic, mass-produced pieces, which have clones dotted all around the globe.
As a one-stop shop for donating, upcycling, and rehoming wooden furniture, ReFunk solves both the consumer and environmental problems associated with the furniture sector. By keeping these furniture pieces in a closed-loop, circular system, ReFunk aims to limit waste and carbon emissions; all while affording consumers a sustainable solution for furniture disposal and purchase.
So, how exactly does it work? The Donator lists an unwanted piece of wooden furniture on the ReFunk platform. The piece is then matched with a local Upcycler, who gives it a new lease of life. The unique, upcycled piece is then relisted on the platform to be sold to a sustainably-minded Rehomer. ReFunk offers delivery options at all stages of the process, as well as personalised commissions and design guidelines — all in the name of the circular economy.
The world faces a critical year in responding to a climate catastrophe that already pervades many corners of the globe. Although responsibility does not lie solely with us as individuals, positive changes to our lifestyles are not too small to make a difference. ReFunk is one of many opportunities to acknowledge the facts, to wake up and change, and to fight for our futures. So, get engaged, raise your voice, and avoid purchasing from the corporations who exploit our planet.
The climate crisis has been solved- we simply need to act.
Image by Hutomo Abrianto / Unsplash