Utrecht University goes for maximum reuse of furniture

Utrecht University is going to fundamentally reshape the use of furniture such as desks and chairs. From now on, the university will go for maximum reuse of furniture for office use and education. This will be achieved by means of second-life or circular furniture. The ambition is that eventually, no new furniture will be purchased at all. This new method reduces the environmental impact, which is why it links up with the sustainable ambitions of Utrecht University.

How is this to be done?

In order to purchase as sustainable as possible, internal purchasers will be required to follow a step-by-step plan. In a nutshell, they first look at the possibilities to reuse UU furniture that is at that time stored in the UU warehouse. If the internal supply is insufficient, they will look at the second-life supply of good and intact furniture available from UU suppliers. Only if the demand cannot be fully met after the first two steps, the purchaser will purchase new circular furniture. This is new furniture that is designed with materials that have a low environmental impact, can be disassembled and are commutable.

Ambitious method

This strict method and accompanying environmental ambition has not been seen before at other Dutch teaching institutes. A reason that other teaching institutes have not yet dared to commit to this structure could be that this method makes the process of new circular purchases take longer - after all, the purchaser is not allowed to skip any steps in the ordering process. The combination of purchasing new and used furniture does already occur at other teaching institutes in the Netherlands.

European procurement

As of 1 February 2022, Utrecht University has new agreements for the purchase of furniture. This marks the start of the more sustainable purchasing of furniture for office environments and educational spaces. The new approach is the result of the European Procurement Management for Furniture, Supplying of Second-Life Furniture and Supply. The suppliers UU has agreements with as of 1 February 2022 are Ahrend, Gispen, Workbrands, Eromesmarko, Convoi and Alvero.