Are you sitting down? Cut CO2 comfortably by reupholstering your sofa

Dog on a sofa

Thinking of getting a new sofa? You could reduce your home's carbon emissions by reupholstering instead – up to 90kg, when you factor in manufacturing, packaging and distribution.

Plumbs says it has collated data over the last five years to ascertain that giving your seating new covers is the green way to go. It cites WRAP's calculation that 1.5 tonnes of harmful CO2 emissions are released for every 24 sofas sent to landfill, and the eye-watering sum that buying one new settee has the CO2 equivalent of using 35,715 plastic straws. Check out the infographic below.

Plumbs sofas infographic

Full disclosure: Plumbs calls itself a reupholstery specialist. But it's definitely true that using the stuff you already have for longer is better for the environment. And sprucing up your suite with new reupholstery or covers means you can choose practically whatever colour, pattern and finish too. Win-win.

For people keen on buying second-hand furniture to upcycle, however, Plumbs admits there's a supply problem owing to health and safety regulations: sofas need to have a fire safety label clearly visible to be sold on. A lot of us cut these out or let them get shabby and unreadable, which we should really stop doing. All in all, Plumbs says only 15 per cent of sofas are re-used or recycled.

"Getting rid of old furniture responsibly is difficult because charity shops can not take anything that doesn't have fire safety labels attached, leaving only the option of landfill," says Sarah Page, Managing Director of Plumbs. "Reupholstering furniture is without a doubt the more environmentally conscious option."

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