End of Product Life for Original Purchaser
Bernhardt Design products are designed and engineered to last for many years. Frequently, whether designed under the Design for the Environment program or a legacy product, the life span of the product is longer than customers require, resulting in the issue of disposal.
While disposal in a landfill can occur, Bernhardt Design offers alternatives to discarding products. Since Bernhardt Design products are distributed worldwide, returning products to the original production location would consume resources and generate greenhouse gasses. Consequently, two alternatives are available to the consumer: repurpose and recycle.
Donating furniture to social agencies assisting the economically disadvantaged is an opportunity for disposal of products while making an appreciable difference in the quality of life for the recipient. Examples include the homeless transitioning to housing, families who have lost their possessions through fire or disasters, refugees from war-torn countries re-settling in the United States, and the elderly living on fixed incomes. Organizations such as Habitat and various shelter homes frequently need furniture.
Many agencies accept donations; some will pick up the donated item. The organizations below are just a few of the groups that assist in giving products a second life and keeping them from the landfill.
•Contact the National Furniture Bank Association for a local affiliate. The National Furniture Bank Association is a network of facilities throughout the United States that collect and distribute used furniture and other items to people in need.
•Check out the Reuse Development Organization (ReDO), a nonprofit organization that promotes reuse of surplus and discarded items, including furniture and household goods. ReDO maintains a list of organizations by state that accept furniture donations.
•Charities that typically provide pickup service for donated furniture and household items (as well as drop-off points) include Military Order of the Purple Heart, Salvation Army, and Big Brothers; Big Sisters which often have trucks scheduled to pick up in different locations. Call the nearby Goodwill Industries facility to see if a furniture donation pickup service is provided.
•Contact local churches and inquire if they have furniture donation programs for needy individuals and families, or know of people who can use furniture and household items.
•Consider donating furniture to a homeless shelter, a battered women's shelter, or to a refugee resettlement program. Telephone numbers for these organizations may be found in the local phone book (women's shelters will have a phone number but no address for security reasons), or on web sites. Local United Way organizations may have information regarding area groups.
•Local theater groups may use donated furniture for sets and welcome donated props to help defray costs.
•Offer items on Internet-based grassroots organizations such as Freecycle or FreeShare that offer individuals a forum for donating (and receiving) free items, including furniture and household goods. Together, more than 4,300 individual Freecycle or FreeShare communities exist in the United States and around the world. Registration is free.
The recycling of used products requires more time and effort than repurposing, but sometimes is the most efficient way to avoid landfill disposal. While Bernhardt Design products are designed through the Design for the Environment program to be easily disassembled, some products must still be deconstructed in order to separate the materials into liked components. Since this can be a physically challenging process, appropriate safety precautions should be taken.
Typically, up to seven types of components may exist in Bernhardt Design products: wood, composite wood products, metal/aluminum, plastics, fabric/textiles, polyurethane foam, and electrical. Most municipalities have a recycling program that will accommodate these materials. Some materials, such as the metal and aluminum, may even be a saleable commodity in some areas.
If the local municipality does not offer recycling services, the following links can provide information on recycling in certain regions and states.
EPA Region Websites and Waste Programs
1 ME, NH, VT, MA, RI, CT: Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling
2 NY, NJ, PR, VI: Hazardous Waste, Pollution Prevention, Solid Waste
3 PA, DE, DC, MD, VA, WV: Municipal Solid Waste (Recycling), Waste and Chemicals Management Division
4 KY, TN, NC, SC, MS, AL, GA, FL: Waste Management Division
5 MN, WI, IL, MI, IN, OH: Pollution Prevention, Wastes, Solid Waste Program, Waste Minimization
6 NM, TX, OK, AR, LA: Solid Waste Programs, Waste Topics
7 NE, KS, IA, MO: Household Hazardous Waste, Hazardous Waste Program, Solid Waste Program, Underground Storage Tanks
8 MT, ND, WY, SD, UT, CO: Conservation and Recycling, Land and Waste Programs
9 CA, NV, AZ, HI: Recycle City, Solid and Hazardous Waste Programs
10 WA, OR, ID, AK: Hazardous Waste , Waste/Chemicals Mgmt , Pollution Prevention, Recycling, Solid/Municipal Waste
District of Columbia - Washington DC
Guam - US Territory
Puerto Rico - US Commonwealth
Washington DC - The District of Columbia