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ECO-FRIENDLY BARTER APPROACH REVOLUTIONISING FURNITURE RETAIL MARKET

17/04/2024 10:34 AM
From Muhammad Basir Roslan

Discarding old furniture such as sofas, cabinets, bed frames, tables and chairs in landfills and other areas poses significant environmental challenges.

And, with landfills reaching their capacity limits, there is a growing urgency to find sustainable solutions for managing such bulk waste.

According to a report by the National Solid Waste Management Department, 137 landfills are currently in operation all over Malaysia, including 21 sanitary landfills, while 174 have already been closed.

To address the issue of old and unwanted furniture taking up a lot of space in Malaysian landfills, two companies have joined forces to develop an innovative solution to facilitate the reuse and recycling of furniture that would otherwise end up in dumpsites.

CUURA Space, an online-only direct-to-consumer furniture retailer, and Barnything – the country's first online barter-centric platform ­– have introduced a barter system where customers can trade in their old furniture, which will later be refurbished, repaired or repurposed, thus promoting sustainability and reducing the burden on landfills.

 

PROMOTE REUSE OF OLD FURNITURE

CUURA Space founder and chief executive officer Benny Lim said his company’s partnership with Barnything came about after he realised there was a dire need to mitigate the furniture industry’s impact on the environment.

“We want to revolutionise the furniture shopping experience by prioritising sustainability,” he told Bernama, adding, “CUURA Space and Barnything are leading a new era in the furniture industry by integrating sustainable practices into our business model and encouraging eco-conscious choices.


The main goal of CUURA Space is to become the top choice for anyone looking for high-quality and visually appealing furniture online.

“We are also envisioning a future where sustainability is not just an afterthought but an integral part of the entire process.”

Stressing that their barter system caters to the growing trend of sustainable and ethical consumerism in the furniture industry, Lim, 37, said its main purpose is to reduce waste and promote furniture reuse.

“When customers trade in their old furniture through our barter system, we carefully evaluate each piece. Depending on its condition and usability, our team will assess whether it can be refurbished, repaired or repurposed. This aligns with the ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’ (3R) ethos. 

"If a piece cannot be directly reused, we try to salvage materials from it, ensuring minimal waste. For instance, wood from old furniture might be reclaimed and repurposed in new designs, reducing our reliance on virgin materials and lessening our environmental footprint," he explained.

 

HOW THE BARTER SYSTEM WORKS

Under the barter system practised by CUURA Space and Barnything, customers can offload their old furniture by uploading photographs of the items they want to discard on Barnything’s website.

After the items are evaluated, they will receive a promo code for an RM200 discount on any purchase of CUURA Space furniture.


Benny Lim

Their pre-loved furniture will eventually be sold at discounted prices or bartered, preventing them from ending up in landfills prematurely.

Customers can also choose to deliver their old furniture themselves or opt for the pickup service, which is provided free of charge if they purchase something from CUURA Space.

“We understand the logistical challenges of transporting furniture, so we made sure to offer this service as part of our commitment to make it more convenient for our customers,” Lim said.

He added customers supporting the barter system are also promoting the circular economy by giving their unwanted furniture a new lease of life and aligning themselves with a more environmentally friendly approach to furnishing their homes.

 

AFFORDABLE FURNITURE

Among CUURA Space’s satisfied customers is Aisyah Putri Zainal Abidin who is a firm supporter of the circular economy model, which promotes the reuse and regeneration of materials or products, especially as a means of continuing production in a sustainable or environmentally friendly way.

The 30-year-old business analyst believes it is a game-changer as the system is not just about recycling but also about rethinking how consumers use and reuse everything. 

For her, circular economies focus more on reducing waste, reusing resources and recycling materials.


Aisyah Putri Zainal Abidin recently discovered the company's unique furniture designs and sustainability ethos through CUURA Space Instagram ads.

“This approach encourages us to think about the entire lifecycle of what we purchase, not just to buy better. 

“When initiatives like this (CUURA Space and Barnything’s barter system) make it easy for us to be part of this cycle, it is a powerful reminder that our buying decisions have a direct impact on the environment. This also encourages us to become a more responsible consumer by default, not just by choice,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lim said CUURA Space plans to develop and produce more affordable furniture for those in the B40 income bracket. Currently, the prices of the range of furniture items offered by the company are on the high side and geared towards the M40 group.

“We need to recognise the importance of catering to diverse demographics, including those in the B40 income bracket. As part of our ongoing development, we are exploring ways to produce more affordable furniture sets without compromising on quality or sustainability,” he added.

 

Edited by Rema Nambiar


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