Warden’s Office Products: Your Green Office Solution (Guest Column)
By now, you have no doubt heard the term, “Green Office Solutions.” There are countless that companies, and offices, or individuals can be ‘green conscious’ and/or ‘green friendly.’ Many have taken the steps necessary to be responsible to care for our environment. However, what does a company do with its existing, outdated office furniture when it’s time for a major re-model and/or to move locations? Those in corporate real estate and in facilities management are all too familiar with this challenge—and it becomes even more of a challenge when the impact on our environment is also considered. Unfortunately, much obsolete office furniture often ends up in the local landfill.
Warden’s Office Products Center in Modesto offers a recycle plan for those companies either relocating or remodeling in the Stanislaus, San Joaquin, and Merced County areas, to help keep this type of product out of our local landfills.
Some office furniture pieces are at the end of their lifecycle and will end up in the landfill no matter what a company desired. However, similar to e-waste, there are many components of a chair and partitions that can be recycled if the entire pre-owned unit cannot be repurposed or is not viable for resale as a whole unit. Warden’s is often asked to ‘discard’ or ‘haul off’ the old office furniture at the time of a new remodel or at the time of the installation of new workstations and seating. Warden’s generally completes this service, at no additional labor charge to the customer. The pre-owned product is evaluated once it arrives at Warden’s warehouse to determine if it will be disassembled for the recycle bins or if it will be refurbished. Depending on the condition and potential future use of the desks, chairs, tables, etc., many items can be resold as ‘gently-used’ or ‘pre-owned.’ This not only saves the next buyer money, but it also helps keep this furniture from the landfills and the waste of the manufacturing process and materials needed to create new items.
The second-hand office furniture market is limited and local companies who are anticipating a remodel or a move can benefit by preplanning. Our community has many worthwhile non-profit organizations that could benefit from a direct donation of gently-used office furniture. These types of in-kind donations, however, take advance planning and coordination with the non-profit to ensure a smooth transition from one office to the next. Our environment, as well as, the non-profit benefit from this type of recycling.
Although there are no firm figures on how much office furniture ends up in landfills nationally each year, it is safe to assume the total annual amount runs into the hundreds of thousands of tons per year. Warden’s Office Products has been involved in the pre-owned or gently-used office furniture marketplace in the Central Valley for over 25 years. Warden’s estimates they save approximately 3 tons per week, over 150 tons per year, and well over 3000 tons in the last 25 years – that’s 6 million pounds – of old office furniture that does not end up in our local landfill!
By Joe Cunningham, President of Warden’s Office Supply