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The challenges with 'fast' homeware and why the shift to sustainable homeware can be difficult

In an attempt to keep up with quicker decor trend cycles, a substantial proportion of people are buying ‘fast’ homeware and cheaper, less sustainably made items, leaving older items to be sent to landfills- and this includes big brands too.

While some large homeware brands are trying to minimise their environmental impact, others are yet to follow.

In this post, we will discuss the challenges of ‘fast’ homeware, the effects of fast homeware trends on the environment, and what people should consider when making purchases to combat the effects of fast homeware.

How much is thrown away per year?

Recently, fitted furniture experts Hammonds conducted a study into the effects of fast homeware. One of the questions they asked was which items Brits were most likely to throw away. And the top five items?

1. Cushion/cushion covers

2. Candles

3. Throws/blankets

4. Plants

5. Bed linen 

When asked where they threw these items away, 46% said they donated unwanted homeware to charity, 14% said they recycled it and 13% said they gifted it to someone else.

However, they also noted that 1 in 10 of those surveyed admitted to usually just throwing these pieces away.

Overall, this is approximately 69.9 million items thrown away each year, which equates to £2.17 billion… a lot of unwanted and discarded homeware!

The effects of ‘fast’ homeware on the planet

Much like fast fashion and fast food, ‘fast’ homeware can have damaging consequences on the environment.

Not only is the textile industry one of the largest pollutants across the globe, but finishing and dyeing processes account for 20% of industrial water pollutants found in supplies.

According to the 2019 Textiles Market Situation Report, approximately 900,000 tonnes of textile waste is sent to landfill- with homeware textiles making up 40% of this.

What should you consider when purchasing homeware?


Not only did Hammonds find that Brits were quick to throw away unwanted homeware, but many also weren’t consciously making sustainable homeware choices, since 34% said they didn’t look for items by independent makers and 30% wouldn’t buy pre-loved or vintage items.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. The study also found that the general public is starting to understand the impact fast homeware has on the environment.

2 in 5 (41%) of those studied compared the effects of ‘fast’ homeware to fast fashion, and 25% of those surveyed checked whether brands were ‘green’ before making a purchase.

While it can be difficult to know how to make more sustainable choices when purchasing things for the home, there are a few ways to shop more consciously.

Choosing homeware made from eco-friendly materials like bamboo, for example, will reduce the impact on the environment.

Similarly, recycling or repurposing unwanted items (or even selling them through online marketplace sites such as Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or eBay) will prevent them from taking up valuable landfill space.

Buying ‘fast’ homeware to keep up with quick trend cycles can have negative consequences on the environment.

However, by trying to instead make more sustainable choices when kitting out your home, you can ensure you reduce your carbon footprint and still keep your space trendy.

Do you know about 'fast' homeware? How do you reduce your impact on the environment? Let me know in the comments!

Love, Sarah xoxo

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A 30 something woman navigating life, sharing posts focussing on mental health, midsize fashion, self-care routines and life as a vegan.

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