or many professionals in Facilities Management and Corporate Real Estate, the issue
of what to do with surplus office furniture and equipment is nothing new. It’s one
of the many challenges that come with managing millions of square feet of office
space. As businesses continuously re-
The Problem of Serial Surplus
Unfortunately, the most common end-
Recycling doesn’t usually work as a primary solution either, as only metals will
produce a financial return, while the rest is recycled at a cost or land-
This leaves facilities managers stuck with the ‘quick and dirty’ solution, which is to remove the furniture, haul it to the dump, and forget about it. But hauling furniture directly to the landfill comes at a greater financial cost; between the cost of labor for knockdown, removal and transportation, as well as hard costs in the form of landfill tipping fees (averaging $50/ton and surpassing $140/ton in some regions), the price of clearing out of a full floor of furniture can easily creep into the tens of thousands of dollars. And beyond financial costs, the furniture usually isn’t even garbage at all —most surplus items haven’t reached their true ‘end of life,’ and can still be used for years to come. The real lasting cost is environmental.
Those tasked with managing these projects are left with low financial returns, logistical
expenses and the ongoing challenge of aligning facility-
Solving Serial Surplus
The solution requires a more dynamic approach that can capture the hidden value of
surplus assets. Depending on the composition of a given item, the current resale
market, and the priorities of the business, that item may have several possible end-
Since the early 1990s, North American economic and population growth has led to an
increase of over 25% in the volume of waste that ends up in landfills each year –
roughly 200 million tons annually. An estimated 10 million tons of it comes from
mismanaged office interior surplus, much of which is still usable and in demand.
Junk removal services en route to landfill invariably drive right by the schools,
hospitals and non-
Companies that need cost effective solutions for their surplus furniture and equipment,
but also want to keep from filling the dump while recouping value in the process,
are finding services that have filled this growing niche along with other alternatives
to liquidation and landfill. Our own firm, Green Standards Ltd., is one of these
in Canada, and there are many throughout North America that are offering the kind
of services sustainability-
The increasing demand on corporations to account for their waste, demonstrate sustainability,
and give back to their communities can all be achieved, in part, through a financial
and sustainable approach to serial office surplus furniture. But first, Facilities
and Project Managers must shift their thinking from “zero-
About Trevor Langdon
Trevor Langdon is Manager of Business Development for Green Standards Ltd., where he designs and implements solutions for clients across North America that help manage their costs while capturing the maximal value potential of their decommission projects.
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