Different companies accept different types of furniture for recycling. For example, some companies may specialise in office furniture, some recycle household and electrical products and some recycle antique furniture and decorative items (such as mirrors). Different companies may have specific requirements with respect to items that require dismantling or special handling, such as bunk bed frames, assembled cabinets, floor / table lamps, etc.
3 main criteria: 1) relatively new and clean on the outside; 2) reusable; and 3) structurally safe. Most companies will consider matters such as style, quantity, pick-up area and size to determine whether to recycle the items. Electrical goods need to function properly in order to be recycled. In general, items that are mounted to wall, custom-made, too old, damaged or discoloured will not be accepted.
Make arrangement early as confirmation takes time
Some companies may take up to a week to pick up the recycled items after confirmation. Consumers should clarify on the arrangement if they are in a hurry to discard the items. Some companies allow consumers to choose free or fee-based services. Consumers may need to wait longer if they opt for free services. Any cancellation or date change after confirmation should be communicated as soon as possible.
In terms of costs, some recycling services are free except for large furniture. For example, consumers may need to pay a fee of $200 - $300 per piece for bed frames or wardrobes that exceed a certain length or height. Consumers may also need to pay $50 - $100 per piece per floor if there is staircase. Sometimes, the costs are determined by the quality, quantity, pick-up area or actual situation. Some companies even stated that if the furniture is of high value, the company may pay for it after deducting labor and other costs.
Basically, all companies will ask consumers to send information of the furniture beforehand so that they can decide whether the items can be recycled. However, if the actual quality or quantity of the furniture (at the time of pick-up) is different from the description, companies may ask the consumers to pay a surcharge of $100 to $300 per piece. Some companies have stated that they may refuse to recycle the furniture in such situation and likely to charge for transportation and manpower costs.
If the old furniture does not meet the recycling criteria, many companies also provide furniture disposal services, but the terms may vary. Depending on the size, type and weight of the items, and the area and environment of the pick-up site, fees can range from $100 to $1,000 per piece. The prices quoted by different companies vary greatly as furniture disposal service is not their main business. Some companies will only provide furniture disposal services to customers who buy their second-hand furniture.
Tips on buying second-hand furniture
In addition to donating furniture, you can also buy second-hand furniture. When making a purchase, remember to check if the company provides after-sales service such as maintenance and assembly. If the second-hand furniture sold has structural or functional problems, consumers can contact the company for follow-up within 7 days after sale. Some companies are willing to refund if a second-hand electrical good has defects within the first month of sale. Some companies will arrange for a repairman to do onsite repair or paint (touch-up) the item.
In addition, in order to let consumers worry-free, some companies will provide appropriate technical guidance via telephone or instant messaging programs if customers experience issues when assembling the second-hand furniture. They may also provide on-site assistance for an additional fee.
If you are interested in recycling furniture, you may refer to the article, “Make Good Use of Furniture Recycling Service Use Less Waste Less”, CHOICE Magazine, Issue 521 (Chinese version only), which sets out the information on the services and charges of 7 companies that the Consumer Council surveyed previously.
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