The British Furniture Confederation (BFC) is cautioning the government to beware of the unintended consequences of treating the furniture industry as a single, homogenous sector in its plans to consult on an Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) scheme for furniture by the end of 2025. The concern is, because of the very different product sectors within the furniture industry, that the application of a ‘blanket’ EPR scheme will not best achieve the aims of the Waste Prevention Plan for furniture.
The BFC - whose member trade associations* represent a broad spectrum of the furniture industry from beds and mattresses through to upholstery, kitchens and the wide-ranging commercial sector - was responding to the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) consultation on its new waste prevention plan for England, which closed on 10th June.
Said BFC chairman Jonathan Hindle: “The BFC broadly welcomes these plans to tackle the problem of waste and improve resource efficiency. We look forward to working closely with DEFRA on how best the furniture sector can help, both through better management at the end of life, using mechanisms such as Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes and through measures to reduce what ends up as waste, such as ecodesign, reuse and remanufacture.
“However we felt it was really important to emphasise that, while we may be one industry, there are significant differences and needs for each sector, which need to be recognised and taken into account when reviewing the best way forward. Kitchens cannot be approached in the same ways as sofas or beds. The commercial sector operates very differently to the domestic. One size does not fit all.”