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“Fast furniture” detrimental to local industry, environment, says Australian Furniture Association

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Cheap, imported furniture is on the rise and creating “an untenable problem for the future.” according to the nation’s peak association for the furnishing sector’s supply chain.

In a statement on Monday, the Australian Furniture Association said “thousands of tonnes” of Christmas sale furniture were headed for nature strips and ultimately landfill “in a tragic cycle of buy and discard that has become a rapidly growing and immensely concerning consumer norm”.

AFA CEO Patrizia Torelli said mass-produced and inexpensive “fast furniture” was – like “fast fashion” – viewed “as an affordable one-season fling that isn’t meant to last for generations, repurposed, repaired or reused” and “creating an untenable problem for the future.

 “The Australian furniture industry has a well-deserved reputation for sustainable and environmentally responsible practices, but the viability of the sector is under threat from Fast Furniture produced overseas and made from cheap materials that are not meant to last – often using unethical practices and treatment of workers that expose them to harmful sawdust and carcinogens used in the manufacturing process”.

The problem was being driven by declining home ownership, according to the AFA.

Torelli said that the circular economy provided an alternative, with potential economic benefits, and that the local furniture industry had taken positive steps to lessen its environmental impact.

“However, the missing link is consumer awareness and education,” added Torelli.

“On behalf of its members, the AFA is calling on government at all levels to initiate a campaign to educate and alert consumers that Fast Furniture is detrimental to the health of the environment and planet as most of these products use materials and practices that are not sustainable, cost Aussies jobs, contribute to deforestation and their short-life span and ultimate disposal significantly increases landfill waste”

Picture: supplied

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