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A study by Carbon Clear found that antique furniture is likely to have a carbon footprint 16 times lower than modern furniture. The survey compared an antique chest of drawers with a newly made version. There were multiple benefits. Antique pieces are not thrown away thereby reducing landfill, they also reduce the consumption of new goods from outside the UK so produce less freight and are better for the UK economy. No trees are being cut down and the furniture would have originally been made in natural daylight with hand tools.

Another poll conducted by the Auction Technology Group in 2019 founds that 45% of respondents were completely unaware that buying a new piece of furniture produces a higher carbon footprint than buying second-hand. The findings came despite the fact that 82% of the people surveyed said they do consider sustainability in some way when making a purchase.

In the UK, consumers throw away an estimated 1.6m tonnes of bulky waste and furniture each year. Estimates put international shipping at 3-4% of carbon emissions caused by humans. The European Parliament states that in 30 years, by 2050, it could rise to as much as 17%.

The lifespan of a new chest of drawers is approximately 15 years and usually isn’t re-saleable. In comparison, the antiques version is well-made with solid wood that is restorable. If looked after it could last forever. The average sofa only lasts between 7 to 8 years, and the cost of frequent replacement adds up. Properly made sofas can be re-upholstered many, many times.

Antiques still function just as well as new items but have more character. As well as creating eco-style with antiques, the items move from owner to owner, generation to generation.

Antiques lend themselves to a variety of uses in modern settings – for instance, a Victorian blanket box might make a wonderful coffee table, with the added benefit of storage, whilst vintage wooden office filing cabinets can create a striking impact.

Antique furniture isn’t just safer for the environment; it’s also safer for those who buy it since the time it takes to burn is longer. Because of the number of home goods made from extremely flammable chemicals and materials, modern house fires take between two and three minutes to reach a critical burning point. Although fires were devastating hundreds of years ago, they didn’t get out of control as quickly as they do now. This is due to furnishings and other interior pieces made out of wood or natural fabrics, which burns slower than synthetic materials. Not only that, but the companies that produce the chemicals and synthetics used in contemporary items emit pollution in the process.

A report by Carbon Clear has done research and found that antique furniture is environmentally friendly. Carbon Clear is an independent consultancy specialising in carbon management and carbon accounting. Antique furniture is most likely to have a carbon footprint 16 times lower than modern newly manufactured furniture. They compared the greenhouse gas emissions with the manufacture of a modern chest of drawers and the use of an antique chest of drawers.

They have said in their findings, buying antique furniture rather than newly built furniture reduces landfill as antiques are not thrown away, reduces carbon emissions and reduces the consumption of new goods from outside the UK so less freight and this is also better for the UK economy. The antiques trade is the oldest recycling business in the history of the world and also preserves our heritage for future generations. Also antique furniture is sustainable, re-usable and re-saleable.

No trees are being cut down to make antique furniture unlike the modern equivalent and antique furniture was originally mainly constructed by hand in daylight so no power tools or lighting was used.

The lifespan of the antique furniture can last forever if looked after properly, but the study looked at a piece 195 years old and this concluded the average emissions per year of an antique chest of drawers is sixteen times less than a modern chest of drawers. They state the lifespan of the new chest of drawers is only approximately fifteen years and is not normally resalable

Buying antiques is a truly effective way for you to take direct action to help the environment. It is the ultimate in recycling with antiques being the eco- conscious choice that is often overlooked.

 

A study conducted by carbon-clear.com and commissioned by antiquesaregreen.org calculated that a new piece of furniture would last 15 years whilst an antique piece would be resold every 30 years.

 

Based on this pattern of consumption, the study concluded that the environmental impact of antique furniture is nearly six times less than that of new furniture.

 

As an example, if you purchased an antique garden table from us, rather than buying new you would save approximately 0.50 tonnes of carbon emissions or an impressive 4% of your annual carbon footprint.

 

By investing in antiques and therefore reusing items that already exist you can help to reduce waste going to landfills and save on energy spent on new production.

 

Antiques preserve natural resources and were created with the ultimate in green practices – the tools used in furniture manufacturing of the past were hand or treadle-operated, and the glues and dyes were produced from natural sources.

 

Buying antiques is the ultimate in eco-style and creating a sustainable home.

Antiques are Green was launched in September 2009. This not-for-profit campaign aims to get antiques recognised for their genuine green credentials. Antiques are a great buy, good value for money and a very enjoyable, sustainable purchase.

In September 2010  a carbon footprint analysis was commissioned of an antique chest of drawers against its modern equivalent. The study, conducted by Carbon Clear, an independent consultancy specialising in carbon accounting, finally puts a figure on just how eco-friendly buying antiques can be: the new item had a carbon footprint 16 times higher than the antique!

The analysis compared the greenhouse gas emissions produced during the lifespan of two chest of drawers; one constructed in 1830 with an assumed lifespan of 195 years, during which time it has been restored and sold twice and, the other, a new piece of similar value available from a reputable high street retailer with an assumed lifespan of15 years. The detailed report focuses on all stages of each product’s lifecycle: from thesourcing of materials to the manufacturing processes, the transportation to the storage and finally to the disposal. For a full copy of the report visit: www.antiquesaregreen.org.

Mark Hill, co-presenter of the BBC’s Cracking Antiques and an expert on the AntiquesRoadshow comments “There has never been a better time to buy antiques – not onlydo they provide us with excellent value for money and the opportunity to create ourown individual style but they also enable us to help the environment through ‘glamorous  recycling’ as confirmed by the facts in this insightful report.”

Antique Furniture is Cheap to Buy

It has never been such a good time to buy antique furniture than now. Over the last 20 – 30 years antique prices have been falling but we are seeing prices starting to creep back up again and especially for the high-quality pieces, these are rising at a much faster rate. Antique furniture has never been so cheap to buy and I believe it will be a very good investment for the future.

Antique furniture is extremely undervalued, you just cannot buy the quality in a modern piece. The woods used to build antiques are now endangered, which means they are no longer available today. Modern furniture is built using faster-grown, less quality woods that do not last. Also with an antique, you can still retain its value, whereas with a modern piece of furniture is worth next to nothing after a couple of years and if cheaply made, it will most probably be falling apart.

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