Almost half of Brits are unaware antiques are green, according to a new poll.
The poll conducted by the Auction Technology Group 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.
Why antiques are green alternative
It is estimated that buying a new chest of drawers results in a carbon footprint 16 times higher than buying its classic antique equivalent.
John-Paul Savant, CEO, ATG, commented on the gap in awareness, “We are being told about the environmental impact that humans have on the planet like never before, leading many people to rethink the way they use and recycle goods. Yet, despite its high carbon footprint, furniture is not given the same level of attention as other ‘fast’ goods such as food and fashion. We want to change this.
In the UK, consumers throw away an estimated 1.6m tonnes of bulky waste and furniture each year. “There is still a lot of work to do to educate consumers about how their purchasing decisions – from fashion and food to furniture – impact the environment. And of course, buying second-hand or vintage is usually better for our wallets, too, as there are fabulous deals to be had,” Savant added.
Buying Second Hand Items
Although awareness of the sustainability of second-hand furniture is low, the ATG research found that 40% of respondents do buy second-hand items at least once a month and that the biggest motive is to find a bargain (43%). Encouragingly, the most popular second-hand purchase after clothes was found to be furniture (54%).
Furthermore, the Office for National Statistics has recently found that retail sales are being lifted by a growing demand for antique furniture and second-hand clothes, with signs that much of the rise is being driven by items sold through auctions and antiques dealing.
“Brits have a healthy appetite for buying second-hand when the opportunity presents itself, which is good news,” Savant continued. “Auctions are gaining in popularity as an option for buyers, many of whom are comfortable buying ‘vintage’ items and are savvy to the choice available at auction online and the fact that older ‘slow furniture’ was built to last. With the right information about the environmental benefits, too, that trend is only set to continue.”
One of the familiar faces on the BBC’s Bargain Hunt programme, presenter and antiques expert David Harper, recently called on the antiques industry to do more to promote the sector’s sustainable credentials.