Hemswell Antique Centres

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Are antiques good for the environment?

Are antiques good for the environment?


For the eco-conscious consumer, antiques may not immediately spring to mind but here we look at just how sustainable antique pieces are.

With climate change becoming ever more obvious, people now have a better understanding of why we should be aware of our individual environmental impact, and sustainable furniture has a big part to play.

The sustainability of antiques

The sustainability of antiques has never been more important and the following are ways in which we are helping the planet when we buy antiques.

The carbon footprint of antique furniture Vs. modern furniture

In 2010, Carbon Clear carried out a study that highlighted the difference in the carbon footprints of antique pieces and their modern equivalents – an antique chest of drawers has an annual carbon footprint of 0.72g of carbon dioxide per annum, compared to 11.36kg for a new chest of drawers which gives the modern piece a carbon footprint 16 times higher! The study also revealed that approximately 10,000,000 pieces of furniture were thrown away in the UK alone, almost a third of which could have been reused easily. So, opting for sustainable furniture and buying period furniture such as antique chests of drawers and antique pine tables, will make a difference.

Antiques reduce landfill

By definition, an antique has already survived 100 years without being sent to landfill, whereas the average lifespan of a new chest of drawers is just 15 years. Sadly, while we are all very good at domestic recycling, we often don’t have a choice with modern furniture as it is usually manufactured from non-recyclable materials; when it comes to the end of its usefulness, there is often little that can be done to save the piece from going in the bin!

Antiques can be upcycled and repurposed

Recycling is not enough however, and reusing or repurposing items is paramount. Antiques tick these boxes and with thoughtful and sympathetic upcycling and repurposing, an antique can have an almost endless life cycle. Luckily, if you do not possess the time or the skills to try this yourself there are many specialist dealers of vintage upcycled and repurposed items who have done the hard work for you.


The fact that for a piece of antique wooden furniture, no trees have been felled for just as long as it has been in existence, bears testimony to its sustainability and adds to the argument that modern furniture production contributes to deforestation around the world.

Antiques preserve our history

Antique furniture reflects the period it was produced in, capturing a glimpse of life as it was. Methods of production, plus style, can pinpoint a moment in time. Whether you purchase a regency washstand for the bedroom or an antique pine blanket box for use as a lounge coffee table, your antiques will always connect you to a previous point in time.

Other sustainable vintage items

It isn’t just antique furniture that offers great eco credentials. Vintage clothing is rapidly taking the place of ‘fast fashion’ and at Hemswell we have several dealers specialising in genuine vintage pieces. A small selection of vintage clothes for sale is available to view online but our full range deserves to be viewed in person, for anyone who believes buying vintage clothes will save the planet.

Sustainability at Hemswell Antique Centres

At Hemswell Antique Centres we are keenly aware of our environmental responsibilities. To this end, we have installed solar panels on our buildings and we make great use of the recycling bins situated throughout the site. The packaging we use when dispatching items, is made from sustainable materials and we are currently in the process of becoming cycling accredited and cycle friendly in order to better welcome cyclists to the centres.

But, don’t just take our word for it, why not pay us a visit to see for yourself? We are open every day of the year, apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day from 10am to 5pm (Christmas Eve & New Years’ Eve 10am- 2.30pm), and we are open all over Easter.

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