In collaboration with Edge Environment and the Global Product Stewardship Council, GECA has been awarded a grant by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to tackle the issue of commercial office furniture going to landfill.

The group will use the funding to design a product stewardship scheme that will help reduce the estimated 30,000 tonnes of furniture – much of it in perfectly good condition – that ends up in Australia's waste stream each year.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Australians dispose over 20 million tonnes of waste through landfill every year. Office furniture accounts for a large percentage of landfill by volume. Just under half of all commercial waste finds it’s way to landfill. This is a surprising figure, considering roughly 90% of commercial waste and around 97% of office waste can be reused and / or recycled.

According to Paula Clasby, head of Engagement & Marketing at GECA, "Along with our licensees, we are thrilled at the opportunity this grant will bring to support a successful product stewardship scheme for commercial office furniture, working with all entities involved to create real impact. We're proud to be part of this collaboration and solution to induce change."

Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environmental Management Trevor Evans says, “When it comes to commercial furniture, we’re talking about a large amount of both textile and plastic waste across the lifecycle of these products from storage and delivery through to the actual components in the furniture. We’re excited to get behind this new scheme which focuses on waste streams that are priorities for our government.”

Commenting on the award, John Polhill, Vice President of the Global Product Stewardship Council and Principal of Circular-e solutions notes that "Product stewardship provides a framework to identify and address market failures and a structure whereby organisations can work collaboratively and efficiently to design a common and targeted stewardship scheme that improves the reuse and recycling of furniture from commercial properties in Australia."

GECA says the project will run until 2023.