Sustainability is something we take very seriously here at Lazy Susan. It is a subject we touched on in our recent Garden Furniture Trends article. But it is more than just a summer 2022 trend for us. The question of can our garden furniture be recycled is extremely important but it is even bigger than that.
It is important to us as individuals and a key part of our business strategy as a team. We are trying to be proactive in our efforts to lower our carbon footprint and continue the support of our charity partners.
According to a recent article in Forbes that looked at why corporate strategies should be focused on sustainability, they stated:
Sustainability is increasingly becoming a necessity for corporations due to changing perspectives around the world. It is becoming even more critical for companies to address the gap between knowing and doing by embracing sustainable business practices. Sustainability can be defined as providing for the present needs without compromising the needs of the future generations to meet theirs.
As an environmentally and socially conscious business, at Lazy Susan we consider more than just our bottom line. We are looking closely at our impact on society and the environment. We want to become more sustainable in order to contribute to the health of the world within which we operate, thereby helping construct an environment in which our business can continue to thrive.
And sustainability is about more than just climate change (although, of course, that is the critical area where we all need to be taking drastic action), it is about helping to address some of the world’s most pressing problems, and our Do Some Good initiative is an excellent example of how we've tried to do just that.
A sustainable business strategy can help to address not only climate change but also look to tackle the gender pay gap, dependence on natural resources, human rights, fair working conditions, pollution, racism and gender inequality.
Our carbon footprint, like the majority of businesses, needs to be lower. Change is always difficult. But the acknowledgement that we need to be better is the first step.
One of the big questions we’re getting asked more and more in this regard is the sustainability and recyclability of our garden furniture and the packaging in which we ship our products.
Can our cast aluminium garden furniture be recycled?
Cast aluminium is 100% recyclable and it can be found not just in our garden furniture but in many other common items you’d find in your home and garden from BBQ grills and cookware to car parts and components in household appliances.
When these items are no longer functional, the aluminium can be easily recycled. In fact, it is an infinitely recyclable material, and according to recycling.world-aluminium.org:
It takes up to 95% less energy to recycle it than to produce primary aluminium, which also limits emissions, including greenhouse gases. Today, about 75% of all aluminium produced in history, nearly a billion tons, is still in use.
According to a sustainability report by the American Aluminium Association the recycling of aluminium uses about:
5% of the energy required to create (brand new) aluminium from bauxite.
While the North American Die Casting Association produced an environmental study that estimated that:
Around three quarters of the products manufactured with aluminium are sourced from recycled aluminium material.
The high-grade cast aluminium used in our outdoor furniture could potentially be forged from recycled car wheels or old aeroplane wings. Although we must stress, this does not make it an inferior metal, far from it!
The quality and strength of our Garden Furniture is achieved during the casting process whereby silicon is combined to create an alloy that has what we know in the trade as having "good casting characteristics". In other words, a quality alloy we can form (cast) into the intricate designs featured across our collection. The end result is a material that is durable, lightweight and corrosion-resistant.
If you would like to know more about the manufacturing process of our garden furniture collection, please have a read of our how we make our furniture page.
To answer the original question of can our garden furniture be recycled? Yes, it can, over and over again. But better than that, our garden furniture range is not only well made, it is classically styled, and that creates sustainability.
This is not "fast fashion" furniture, a design fad that could look dated in a few summers. It is designed to sit on our patios for several years with minimum maintenance and still look great. If you do find it’s time to replace it, then it can be stripped (painted finish removed) melted down and re-cast.
Can our garden furniture packaging be recycled?
A big part of ordering new garden furniture from Lazy Susan is that it will be shipped to you RTA (Ready To Assemble), and that basically means that our garden tables and chairs will be sent with the legs off.
To ship safely and efficiently, we have to do it that way. The component parts must then be safely and securely packaged to protect the metal and its painted finish while in transit. Our packaging for our June table is shown in the photo below (apologies for the quality it is just a quick snap we took on a camera phone).
All our furniture is shipped in cardboard boxes. The box itself is what is known as a Telescopic Carton, whereby the sidewalls of the box lid fit over the sidewalls of the box base to provide additional protection and rigidity.
The boxes themselves can simply be taken apart/cut down to size and popped in your recycling bin or taken to your local recycling centre once your furniture is constructed and you're happy with it.
To protect the component parts we use no polystyrene. Whilst it can be recycled at a specialist centre, it is messy and disposing of large pieces is tricky.
Our protection currently comes from a heavy-duty bubble wrap. This is something we will look to potentially replace over time but it offers excellent protection. And whilst you can’t just pop it in your curbside recycling bin as it is not a "hard plastic", bubble wrap can actually be recycled.
It is made from Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) much like your supermarket plastic bag, so to recycle you need to take it to a recycling centre or designated recycling bin. Just pop it flat and take it to your local supermarket is one simple way you can do this as they generally have bag recycling bins.
Me, personally, I keep it and re-use it. I roll it up and it's there if I need to post a gift to someone or if I sell something on eBay. It always comes in handy!
Other protective elements include honeycomb carton corners, and these are also made from cardboard, so they can be easily recycled.
However, we know that whilst our packing is fit for purpose (i.e. shipping to you the customer), its green credentials could be better, so our Product Development Team are currently working with suppliers to test and source alternatives.
If you have any further questions regarding sustainability, recycling or our garden furniture in general, please don’t hesitate to contact our Customer Service Team.