Homeowners and renters are chucking good quality furniture or homewares, says British Heart Foundation


Thousands of UK adults are choosing to bin household items or furniture that could be otherwise recycled, reused or donated, according to a new British Heart Foundation shops survey.

The survey of over 2,000 first time buyers and renters revealed a third are sending their unwanted goods to landfill, rather than finding ways to give them a new lease of life. The leading charity retailer says this could be linked to the rise of ‘fast furniture’ – replacing items in good condition due to rapidly changing interiors trends.

According to those surveyed, the most likely reasons for binning unwanted items instead of recycling or donating were; not having the means to transport it (20%) wanting to get rid of things as quickly as possible (16%) and finding it easier to take it to the dump (9%).

Just under one in five UK adults aged 16-24 (19%) admitted they wouldn’t actually know how to donate or re-cycle furniture and homeware. This was reflected in stats showing that just under four in five respondents aged 55+ (79%) have never thrown away furniture, electrical items and homewares in good enough condition that they could have been re-used, sold or donated compared to under three in five respondents aged 16-24 (55%).

The survey has been released as part of the BHF’s Reuse Revolution campaign, which is encouraging the nation to shop, upcycle and donate second hand furniture. The charity say millions more people – including first-time buyers and renters – could be benefiting from the unique, high-quality and affordable items that are available second hand.

The survey also found that despite the financial pressures of buying a first home or taking on a new rental property, only two in five UK adults (41%) have bought second hand furniture and homewares. Similarly, less than a third (31%) have taken advantage of second hand sites like eBay and Gumtree. This suggests that thousands of first time buyers are overlooking the opportunity to find good quality, unique and affordable furniture through sources like second hand furniture shops or via online resell outlets.

Allison Swaine-Hughes, retail director at the BHF, said: “Last year the British Heart Foundation rescued 74,000 tonnes of items from landfill due to the generous donations of our supporters. But we know that there are still so many more sofas, side boards and beds out there that aren’t yet ready for the tip and could provide an ideal and affordable answer for those looking to furnish their home on a budget. 

“This month we are asking the public to join the Reuse Revolution and shop, upcycle or donate their second hand furniture while helping to raise funds for life-saving research in to heart and circulatory disease. You can simply call your local shop to arrange a free donation.”

Last year, the BHF reused and recycled over 42,000 tonnes of furniture and electrical products including 185,000 sofas and 50,000 TVs. This helped prevent 53,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the atmosphere.