Good practice

Re-used and re-manufactured office furniture

Re-used and re-manufactured office furniture
Materials, Waste, Carbon
Office and administration
Medium cost
Resource savings: Raw material:
In total, around 45 % of office items were re-used, 49 % were re-manufactured, and only 6% were sourced from new stock
Resource savings: Waste:
41 tonnes of waste diverted from landfill
Total cost savings:
Cost savings realised from reuse of existing furniture and avoidance of associated disposal costs
Co2 emission reduction:
134.1 tonnes CO2 equivalent saved
Premises and operation areas:
Office management, Office building, Product and design, Production processes
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

Foresight for office furniture ... who would have thought!

  • Foresighted procurement ensured successful bidders could not only new office furniture but solutions for re-using items
  • Total project C02 savings of 134.1 tonnes which could fill up 804 double-decker buses
  • 41 tonnes of waste diverted from landfil

In 2016, Public Health Wales (PHW) relocated to a new, open plan office in Cardiff, along with its some 500 staff. They wanted to create a unique workplace environment designed to encourage a collaborative and social workspace which embedded sustainability as a core principle.

PHW looked hard at how it could achieve this and one of the solutions was to call for office equipment, furnishings and flooring providers to propose ways of using as much existing office furniture as possible by repairing and refurbishing pieces, as needed, and adding new elements that worked with overall design plan.

The tender brief stipulated the need to combine existing, re-used and re-manufactured items as a core requirement, whilst meeting the functionality of the space required.

The tender was awarded to a consortium made up of three companies, Rype Office, Orangebox and Greenstream. Their bid demonstrated the most sustainable approach for delivering on the requirements set out in the call, and work began in July 2016.

Key impacts

The bulk of the furniture used for the new office was either re-used and re-manufactured from existing furniture or sourced from elsewhere. Many of these items, had they not been re-used, would have been destined for landfill:

  • 1 143 individual items were re-used; these were cleaned, repaired and reupholstered
  • 1 270 pieces were re-manufactured, which involved taking the long-life elements of high-quality used furniture (e.g. metal frames), checking and resurfacing the items, and rebuilding the rest of the item around them
  • Items included office chairs, carpet tiles, office pedestals, storage cabinets, sofas, whiteboards, etc.

In total, 45 % of items were reused, 49 % were remanufactured, and 6 % were sourced from new stock. These measures also led to significant 'equivalent' carbon savings:

  • 729 re-used office desks saved 50.04 tonnes of C02
  • 979 re-used office chairs saved 57.70 tonnes of C02
  • 522 re-used office pedestals saved 20.67 tonnes of C02
  • 670 square metres of re-used carpet tiles saved 5.7 tonnes of C02

Total project C02 savings were 134.1 tonnes. This could fill up 804 double-decker buses. The project also helped PHW divert 41 tonnes of waste from landfill.


What started out as a straightforward office accommodation project, turned into a real opportunity to secure public value and demonstrate how the Circular Economy can have a positive impact on public health.” -- Sally Attwood, Programme Manager, Public Health Wales

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