Most businesses understand that it is necessary and right to make ever greater steps to sustainability. There will be numerous ways to do this and each will have its own direction and speed of travel.
We started up Oxley’s 30 years ago using recycled aluminium to make our furniture. Aluminium is one of the most recycled elements on the planet. It was readily available, easy to use in manufacturing and when processed correctly, weatherproof. Perfect for the purpose of our prime aim, building outdoor furniture to last generations. So as a business we started with sustainability at our core. It seems strange now but it is only over the years that we have realised the practical repercussions of this early decision.
10 years on from selling our first furniture at a small county show we were asked by a customer if we could repurpose a set of furniture they had purchased from us a few years before. The customer was moving house and they wanted to change the colour of the furniture from their original choice to a new colour to match its surroundings. Could we help? We collected their furniture, removed the previous paint finish, recoated it in their new colour choice and delivered it to their new home.
Over the years we have now provided this service many, many times for our customers moving house, or taken back smaller sets and exchanged them for larger sets for the difference in price. Experience taught us that we have this ability and at the end of 2021 launched our new, unique buy back guarantee. Once our customers have owned their Oxley’s furniture for 12 month’s we guarantee to buy it back from them for half the original purchase price, for the next 10 years, should they wish.
This simple process seems to us to be a practical way to be sustainable and the fact that our furniture is built to last generations doesn’t after all mean that it has to stay in the same family!
There are many other ways we are endeavouring to be sustainable in our business. For 2022 we will be introducing our first recommended cushion fabrics made of recycled plastic and the best thing is that you would never know. They are soft to touch and very comfortable outdoor fabrics.
We are continually making progress in cutting our power usage. We made use of the UK Government covid loan scheme to replace our massive old process oven with two new locally manufactured ones which are vastly most thermally efficient and use far les gas. We use a lot of packaging in our business to send our furniture around the world, all of which is now made from recycled material and reused over and over.
But perhaps our biggest move to date has been to set up another side to the business called Metal Furniture Doctor where we offer our renovation service for aluminium furniture not originally made by Oxley’s and not made to the same standards of paint finish. Interest in this service increased 400% in 2021. This service is for those wanting to renew their non Oxley’s furniture, not replace it.
Oxley’s will continue to aim for greater and greater sustainability in all that we do as a business and we are proud of what we have achieved so far.