Posts tagged "furniture"

What can I reuse or recycle to make a chair?

We’ve had an email from Adele:

For my Product Design A2 level I am aiming to create a chair made from recycled materials. I’ve got to be able to collect them in a fairly short time, and of course it would be very helpful if the items were free…I’ve got an open mind about it, and I need some inspiration fairly quick.

Cardboard chairs are the first thing to spring to mind – designers have made them in all sorts of shapes and styles and there are a number of how-tos around the internet, and people talking about the theory of making them too.

If it doesn’t have to be a formal chair, it might be worth exploring upcycling old clothes or bedding to make a bean bag. (I’ve also used old clothes to repair broken chairs on a number of occasions – an opened out jean leg is about the right width for a director’s chair seat – but those projects did start with a real chair frame.)

Getting a bit more involved than just cardboard or fabric, you can make chairs from old oil drums/barrels – for example, these basic chairs or a more flamboyant rocker. Plastic barrels might be slightly easier to work with but still transformable (these chairs aren’t made from old barrels but give an idea of possible shape).

Any other suggestions for Adele?

(Photo by Jascha400d)

How can I reuse or recycle a glass table top?

We’ve had an email from Josie:

My council (Suffolk) say they’ll only recycle glass bottles not other glass like windows. I’ve got an old glass coffee table to get rid of, what can I do with it?

That’s a pretty standard glass recycling policy – only bottles and jars, not plate glass (like windows or photo frames) or cooking glass items (pyrex or other dishes) – so it’s probably better to look for reuse rather than recycling ideas.

Firstly, as with all furniture, try to pass it on to someone else who might still use it — even if you think it’s rather old fashioned or outdated, someone might appreciate having any table at all or love having it if they’re going for a retro thing ;) If it’s a nice piece that’s damaged, someone else might be willing to repair it. Offer it on Freecycle/Freegle, or to a furniture-accepting charity shop (not all charity shops have the space to accept furniture but some specialise in it).

If it’s not suitable for passing along, the glass might be reusable (either by yourself or someone else via Freecycle/Freegle) for a project around the home or garden – on top of another table/desk as a surface protector, to make a cold frame/as part of a greenhouse (although be careful about cutting out too much light if it’s smoked or frosted) or maybe mounted on the wall as a dry erase board?

Any other ideas?

How can I reuse or recycle old plastic patio furniture?

white-plastic-patio-furnitureWe’ve had an email from Charlotte:

We’ve been tidying the garden for winter and want to get rid of the nasty white plastic garden furniture which has been in the garden for years. How can we recycle it?

If they’re still structurally sound, it would be better to let someone else continue using them – offer them on your local Freecycle/Freegle group. Even if they’ve been out in the elements for a while, they’ll probably clean up with a scrubbing brush and a bit of elbow grease.

In terms of actually recycling them, garden furniture is often made from PVC (plastic code 3) which can be recycled but isn’t widely collected post-consumer.

Any reuses?

How can I reuse or recycle a CD rack?

cd rackWe’ve had an email from Lucy:

I’ve just moved house and now got shelves for my CD collection. What can I do with the racks I used to use? They’re metal with a wooden base.

We moved to shelves from CD towers a few years ago when the place John used to work decided to skip three wooden CD shelving units (even though they looked brand new) – they’re in a loving home now, housing CDs, random small items and in the case of one unit, my spare balls of wool. We took our old towers to our local furniture-focused charity shop and hopefully they went to a good home too.

But as for reuses instead of just passing them on – any suggestions?

How can I reuse or recycle broken office/desk chairs?

Office chairWe’ve had an email from Victoria:

Just found your site and love it. Anyway, I saw your story on broken chairs and it reminded me how my company always throws out office chairs instead of fixing them when something breaks – so annoying! I know it’s probably a health and safety thing but it seems so wasteful. As a minimum, can they be recycled?

I’m not sure – but when our (home) office chair dies, I’ll certainly strip it for parts — it’s a silly big “executive” leather one so I’d salvage that for craft projects, the foam cushions for the stray cat’s house, the wheels for the “random parts” box that always comes in handy and the metal frame could go to one of the many, many scrap collectors who visit our street each week — But I realise that’s not necessarily a workable strategy for workplaces.

So anyone else know about recycling them through established schemes? Or can suggest any other reuses?

(Photo by designkryt)