Giving back: John Lewis rolls out nationwide sofa recycling scheme after successful Manchester pilot

By Phil Jones

Retailing giant John Lewis has launched a nationwide not-for-profit scheme to re-use sofas, after a successful year-long trial at its Greater Manchester branches.

Sofas are collected from John Lewis customers upon delivery of their new furniture and kept in a distribution centre for collection by the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN).

The scheme collected 192 sofas from customers across its two Greater Manchester branches and the Partnership’s Trafford Centre furniture department manager said customers had long been requesting the service.

“We were delighted to be part of the trialling of the sofa re-use scheme, this is a fabulous project from which everyone benefits,” said Hilary Thompson.

“It’s a real asset to be able to confidently advise our customers how their old sofas will help support people in our local communities.”

The FRN is a national co-ordinating body for 300 UK re-use organisations, collecting a wide range of household items to pass onto people in need.

Research has shown four million children in the UK live in households that cannot afford to replace worn or broken furniture.

And with 30% of the ten million items of re-useable furniture thrown away in the UK every year, the FRN play a vital role in re-distributing them to those in need.

“The trials were a resounding success and I am delighted they have paved the way for the roll out of such a positive scheme,” said Lesley Wilcox at the FRN.

“I would like to thank John Lewis customers for supporting the scheme and the local charities with which we work who provide real support to some of those most in need.”

The scheme re-uses 85% of the sofas and recycles parts from the remaining 15%, helping John Lewis’ aim to divert 95% of waste from landfill by the end of 2013.

Costing £30 per customer, the fee covers the scheme’s running costs, with the remainder going to the FRN charity, and John Lewis’ head of sustainability welcomed the news.

“We are delighted to partner with local charities and help families nationwide in accessing much-needed furniture,” said Stephen Cawley. 

“At the same time, it supports our ambition to divert waste from landfill – so it is a win-win approach for communities and the environment.”

Photo courtesy of Uli Harder, with thanks.

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