According to research by the International Antiques and Collectors’ Fairs (IACF) a new (made in China) chest of drawers has a carbon footprint 16 times higher than its antique equivalent.
The study highlighted the lower carbon footprint of antiques compared to that of their modern-day equivalent. Results showed that an antique chest of drawers has an annual carbon footprint of 0.72kg CO2e, compared to 11.36kg C02e per year for the brand-new chest of drawers.
Other statistics revealed included £4.6 billion worth of furniture was imported in 2013 (32% of which came from China) while 10 million items of furniture get thrown away in the UK each year.
Source: “Antiques Collecting” magazine July/August 2015, page 16.
These statistics would also be relevant to other items like ceramics and glassware. As well as the carbon footprint of new items there is the ever growing problem of how to dispose of discarded items with room for landfill becoming scarcer each year. By purchasing an item that lasts, you are also reducing packaging, pollution from delivery vehicles, the fumes given off by modern timber polishes and the use of formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, in the manufacture of particle board.
And if a well cared for piece has lasted 50, 100, 200 years or more, then the odds are that it will last as many again, thereby becoming greener with each passing year.
Food for thought.