Australia's Furniture Waste

Waste: A Resource For The Furnishings Industry

How can furnishing be more Sustainable?

The Australian Furniture Association was invited to speak at this year’s Waste 2023 Conference in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.

Karie Soehardi represented the AFA – Karie is the founder of Circular Design Thinking, a dedicated environmental consultancy for the textile, furniture and interiors industries – driving change from linear models to circularity.

Karie’s presentation, titled, ‘Waste Becoming A Resource For The Furnishings Industry’ delved into the current trend of fast furniture and how the furniture industry can plan to use their waste more effectively and limit wastage. Karie discusses the challenges the furniture industry faces and how they’re implementing more sustainable practices.


Some interesting points made in the presentation include:


  • The government plans for Australia to be carbon zero by 2050 – so urgency is needed in order to implement and achieve this goal
  • Important work is needed (and is currently being done so through the Australian Furniture Association) to bring textiles and upholstery skillsets back to Australia – the demand for these skilled workers is so high but the industry is dying out as everything is being sent overseas. If you’d like more information on the AFA’s ‘Take A Seat With Us’ taster skillset program – please CLICK HERE.
  • Buying ‘on sale’ is no longer a bi-annual occurrence, it’s a weekly occurance – which has led to over production, over consumption and short-term gain… ultimately creating a throw-away society.
  • Many manufacturers and online retailers are using cheap products and lesser quality products, to ensure that the products are cheap enough for consumers to buy, but they also won’t last as long which means they will have to buy again sooner rather than later.
  • If furniture businesses implement a ‘Rent to Buy’ scheme, it will allow for products to be better quality, stop over production and allow for skills shortages to be brought back to Australia to fix, repair and maintain furniture
  • Considering sustainable practices as an investment, rather than a cost
  • Implementing sustainability starts at the design process and is a very important factor that needs to be considered
  • Limiting imports and getting creative with the resources we have within Australia will help to create a much more sustainable, circular furniture economy


To View the Waste 2023 website click HERE

For an overview of presentations at the Waste 2023 Conference, VIEW HERE.

For more information on how to implement more effective, sustainable practices within your business, get in contact with Karie and the team at the Australian Furniture Association today HERE