• Tobias Hauptmann
4. Term, Sustainable Design (M.SC) (Master Programme)
Investigating furniture-waste in a Danish dormitory for students, while analyzing this
from a Circular Economy perspective, was the research objective of this thesis.
The main research question was:
'What are the influential factors that make furniture become waste
and how do they need to change to implement a circular solution
in a Danish dormitory environment?'
It revealed that at the case-study, Danmarks Internationale Kollegium (DIK),
furniture is a disposable product. Observations and photographic documentation
revealed that not only furniture is disposed when tenants move out of this student
housing, but several other products as well. Different discarding practices can lead
to reuse, e.g. by using the local online-platform, but long-term storage is not
possible, due to a lack of staff, rather than a lack of space and to fulfill fireregulations.
Interviews and a survey showed that the biggest driver by several stakeholders for
purchases of new or used furniture was price, which also challenges maintenance,
storage and repair activities, as labor-costs exceed the low price of new products,
making them economically obsolete. Reuse is commonly practiced by tenants, but
is challenged by hygienic concerns, specifically an infection with bedbugs. Furniture
doesn't become waste because of one single reason, but due to the sum of different
interlinked and complementary problems.
The waste-management locally and for the whole sector has shown to be
nontransparent as little reliable data on waste are available, but indicates that the
majority of furniture is incinerated. Repair, reuse, remanufacturing and other
circular businesses are statistically not measured or have a small share in this
sector, which is defined by the linear economy model.
The main achievement of this research is to document a problem that remains
hidden in statistics and is not acknowledged by the local housing organization.
Consequently a strategy for implementing different solutions was developed how
the linear consumption of furniture can turn to a circular usage at this dorm.
Nonetheless, without the implementation of any mandatory political instruments, it is
very unlikely that these will come in effect and that the current disposable character
of furniture will change anytime soon.
Publication date4 Jun 2020
Number of pages70
ID: 333545864