rePurpose: Recycling at its Best

By Keasha Palmer
May 2, 2011 10:58 AM ET

Herman Miller Discover Blog

Do you know that Herman Miller has a program that arranges for companies to donate its used furniture to charitable organizations? It’s called rePurpose and it’s recycling at its very best.

The purpose of the rePurpose program is to keep used furniture out of landfills. But it does so much more than that. For example, John Deere recently used rePurpose when they redid their world headquarters in Illinois, and their used furniture was given several new homes, including a day care center, Big Brothers/Sisters, and Habitat for Humanity, all local organizations.

“The donated furniture was in really good shape and we were thrilled to receive it!” says Cindy Kuhn, a Director at Habitat.

And it’s an entirely turnkey operation: All you have to do is contact Herman Miller and that starts the ball rolling. Green Standards, Herman Miller’s partner in the program, handles all the arrangements, from finding local recipients who need furniture to picking it up and delivering it to them.

“What’s really great for the donating companies is to see the impact right in their own communities,” says Kevin Smit, Account Executive at Green Standards. “It’s not just writing a check to a charity, it’s helping out your nephew’s school or the place where you volunteer.”

As Craig Mack, Manager of Deere & Company’s General Office Facilities, points out, “We had tried to donate unused furniture previously on our own, but it wasn’t working out. So when Jeannette Smith of Pigott (a local Herman Miller dealership) told us about rePurpose, we decided to go with it.”

He says the whole process was “very seamless. Green Standards lined up the recipients and we had the peace of mind knowing the furniture was going to someone who could really use it.”

Which is so much better than the alternative. Our research shows that when organizations replace furniture three-quarters of it if disposed of and one-quarter is reused. Of the three-quarters that is disposed, 67 percent ends up in landfills.

So if you’re involved in getting new furniture for a company, please consider using rePurpose to donate the furniture that’s going away. You can contact for more information.

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About Herman Miller, Inc.
Herman Miller works for a better world around you—with inventive designs, technologies and related services that improve the human experience wherever people work, heal, learn, and live. Its curiosity, ingenuity, and design excellence create award-winning products and services, resulting in more than $1.3 billion in revenue in fiscal 2010. Innovative business practices and a commitment to social responsibility have also established Herman Miller as a recognized global company. In 2011, Herman Miller again received the Human Rights Council (HRC) Foundation's top rating in its annual Corporate Equality Index and was also cited by FORTUNE as the "Most Admired" company in the contract furniture industry. Herman Miller trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol MLHR.