National Upcycling Day sheds light on UK household waste


In time for National Upcycling Day, Gumtree is on a mission to spread the word about upcycling and encourage the nation to cut back on waste.

In celebration of the second annual National Upcycling Day which takes place this Friday (24th June), Gumtree is encouraging households across the country to consider upcycling items otherwise destined for a landfill. Whilst the sales of upcycled items on the UK’s largest classifieds website have increased by 50 percent in the past year, a survey commissioned by Gumtree reveals that Brits still throw out a huge amount of household items that could be upcycled.

The findings reveal that sofas top the list of furniture most likely to be thrown out – a shocking one in eight households have thrown out up to two sofas in the last year, amounting to over a quarter of a million sofas going to landfill every month.

This is just one example of the vast amount of household items that go to waste: over 190,000 dining tables, 150,000 coffee tables, 290,000 suitcases and 135,000 dining chairs also get the boot every month. This is a huge amount of waste considering you can sell a dining table and four chairs on Gumtree for on average, £150.

The desire to give a new lease of life to old materials by turning them into something functional and beautiful is on the rise across Britain – 40 per cent of Brits say they have tried their hand at upcycling and a further 1 in 5 upcycle on a regular basis. However, 40 per cent who don’t upcycle say the biggest obstacle to upcycling is not feeling creative enough, whilst a third don’t know what to upcycle.

To combat this hurdle and encourage the nation to give old household items another chance, Gumtree is taking upcycling on the road for this year’s National Upcycling Day. The company has partnered with upcycling expert Max McMurdo to transform an old double-decker bus into an upcycling workshop. The bus will be travelling across the UK inviting the public on board to create something amazing and inspire the nation to think twice before throwing things out.



The bus will be going to the below locations:table


Max McMurdo, upcycling expert and TV presenter, commented:

“I was pretty shocked to hear how many pieces of old furniture get thrown out every year – these are an upcycler’s dream – there are so many amazing and simple things you can create from something like an old coffee table.

Having spent a solid ten days upcycling an entire double decker bus into a workspace on wheels, I’m excited to get it on the road for Gumtree’s Upcycle Revolution this year. It will be a fantastic experience taking upcycling directly to peoples’ doorsteps across the nation – whether they are passionate about making a difference to the environment, are looking for way to save or make money or just need a bit of creative inspiration, I’m eager to show just how simple it can be to create amazing things out of so-called ‘junk’.”

A spokesperson from Furniture Re-use Network further commented:

“Through research carried out by the Furniture Re-use Network (FRN) and Southampton University we know that 13 million pieces of household items are discarded annually, of which our members, the Furniture Re-use charities and Social Enterprises, re-use 3 million per year. This means that a whopping 10 million items are still ending up in landfill or being recycled each year… and a whole third of these could be re-used – which is huge! If people knew just how big the impacts of re-using quality furniture are, perhaps they would be more careful about throwing it away.”

Morten Heuing, General Manager of Gumtree commented:

“The Upcycle Revolution was a successful campaign last year and we’re excited to be taking it on the road this year with our upcycling bus tour. We want to be able to encourage the nation to waste less and inspire them to try their hand at upcycling in order to do so.

There is a lot of money to be made through upcycling, and Gumtree is a great hub for not only finding material to use for upcycling, but also for selling quality upcycled goods. We’ve seen a boom in people selling and searching for upcycled items and we hope the trend will take hold everywhere.”

Top 5 most upcycle savvy cities in the UK (based on the portion of the population that upcycle regularly):

• Bristol (29 per cent)

• Cardiff (27 per cent)

• Aberystwyth (25 per cent)

• Wrexham (25 per cent)

• Plymouth (23 per cent)

Top 5 most thrown away household items:

• Sofas

• Lamps

• Coffee tables

• Suitcases

• Chest of drawers

To find out more about the Upcycling bus tour or National Upcycling Day follow the hashtag #UpcycleRevolution on Twitter and Facebook and find out more on the Gumtree Upcyling hub.