One of the region’s largest furniture retailers has increased its recycling efforts by 15% on last year, putting in place a number of policies to ensure that nothing is sent to landfill.

Barker and Stonehouse, which has eight stores across the North and a state-of-the-art showroom opening at Teesside Retail Park early next year, has developed a long-term environmental plan which aims to recycle all packaging, reduce carbon emissions and put the company at the forefront of energy efficiency.

The retailer has worked with The Carbon Trust on its green schemes and introduced a unique, energy-efficient lighting system into its stores, resulting in savings of up to 60% on its annual fuel bills.

Furthermore, figures show that this year 212 tonnes of cardboard, 40 tonnes of plastic and 10 tonnes of polystyrene have been recycled, up 15% on last year.

Vincent Lithgo, Operations Manager at Barker and Stonehouse, said: “A policy has been in place for some time to recycle all packaging products and this increase in recycling is largely due to the fact we are delivering more products.

“If we deliver and set up furniture in a customer’s house we will take all the packaging materials back to the warehouse to be correctly recycled, something we take very seriously.”

Customers buying new furniture from Barker and Stonehouse can have their old furniture collected by the retailer to be recycled. Working with the Furniture Recycling Company, 137 mattresses, 92 divans, 296 armchairs and 531 sofa groups have been sustainably disposed of this year.

A new partnership with the British Heart Foundation also makes use of old furniture collected from customers’ homes. Anything in a suitable condition is donated to the charity to be resold in their own furniture store – with all proceeds going to the cause.

David Ayre, Area Manager at the British Heart Foundation in Middlesbrough, said: “We’re thrilled to be working with Barker and Stonehouse and we’ve had quite a few three-piece suites, beds and mattresses from them which we’ve been able to resell, raising vital funds for the fight against heart disease.”

David Ayre, left, and Vincent Lithgo, right.
David Ayre, left, and Vincent Lithgo, right.

James Barker, Managing Director at Barker and Stonehouse, said: “For us, responsible retailing is incredibly important and we’ve invested heavily to meet this demand.

“Working with partners such as The Carbon Trust, Furniture Recycling Company and British Heart Foundation means that we send nothing to landfill.  Instead furniture is either resold for a charitable cause or recycled, which provides a source of raw materials for a range of alternative manufacturing processes.”

Barker and Stonehouse’s sustainability strategy also involves choosing ethically-sourced furniture, specially-designed lighting and insulation, sustainable buildings and a return of shipping goods to Teesside from Southampton. This move, which happened in April 2013, has reduced road miles in the transportation of goods to the company’s North East stores and warehouses.