Reducing waste in the living room

This blog post is part of our “Room by Room” mini-series, where we look into ways to reduce waste across all divisions of a household. You can find all the articles listed here.


It’s easy to stand in your living room and think “there’s not a lot of waste in here”. After all, the things that fill up our living room tend to stick around for a while; furniture, photos, appliances and so on.

So, if you are thinking of living a more waste-free lifestyle and want to improve your house Room by Room, the living room is certainly an area where you have to plan ahead. Here are some of the tips and tricks we like to think will help you have a more eco-friendly living room:

  • When it comes to furniture and appliances, try to source it locally and watch out for the packaging it may come wrapped in. On many occasions you won’t have a choice but there’s always a pesky plastic-bag you can decline to use or an additional layer of cardboard/packaging that you don’t really need (and might struggle to get rid of after your item is home).

  • Before buying  something new look into second-hand, upcycled or refurbished options. Most of the time they’re as good as new, cheaper and you get to give something a second-lease of life with no additional air miles, no packaging and overall lower environmental impact. As highlighted in War on Waste there’s a lot of cheap furniture out there that is not designed to last. Have a look at or first before deciding to buy something new. You’d be surprised with what you’ll find!

  • Invest in some decent energy-efficient light bulbs; not only will you have to replace them less often (hence, creating less waste in packaging and glass) but they also tend to use 25%-80% less energy than traditional incandescents and can last 25 times longer.

  • Try to get cushions made of sustainable materials; similar to clothing, your cushions might be made of synthetic micro-plastic fibres that might be released into the environment when washed. Look for items made of eco-friendly dyes as well as natural/raw fabrics (here’s a good source of inspiration).

As you can tell from the list above, these tips are different from what we’ve offered for the kitchen and bathroom in that they’re not so heavily dependant on buying products that come in more sustainable packaging.

There’s not a huge amount  of day-to-day items that we would associate with the living room, but hopefully the above can help you think of ways to reduce waste next time that you move into a new home.

If you have any tips and tricks that you would like to share, drop us an email at

If you’d like to learn how to reduce waste in other divisions of your home, check out the other posts in this blog series.

Ricardo Oliveira