Rearranging the furniture: an RSA Recovery Design residency in collaboration with SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK

Document type
Corporate author(s)
Royal Society of Arts (Great Britain)
Date of publication
8 September 2015
Social Policy
Social welfare
Material type

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Every year in the UK we throw out around 1.6m tonnes of furniture and bulky waste, most of which is buried in landfill or burnt in an incinerator. Conserving and re-using this furniture, on the other hand, would save valuable resources, create employment benefits and provide affordable items to local communities. RSA Great Recovery takes a unique, design-focused approach to the circular economy. In this explorative design residency project, it partners with recycling and waste company SUEZ and challenges a team of pioneering designers to investigate the materials streams and systems that lead furniture prematurely to the skip. The report charts the journey taken by the designers in their quest for products and systems that recognise inherent material value and that account for environmental and social costs and benefits. Recommendations for designers and manufacturers, waste managers, policymakers and local authorities provide practical pointers whilst seeking to encourage a culture of innovation, partnership and long term thinking.

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