Around 12 million tons of furniture ends up in landfills in the US each year. A startup called Feather is looking to change that by shifting ownership: Instead of selling furniture, the company rents it. When someone moves or wants a different sofa, they can send it back, and the company will clean and repair it to rent to someone else.
The startup launched in part to deal with a logistical challenge of urban life – to make it easier for customers to move their furniture, while also helping them tackle waste and prevent what could be perfectly good furniture from ending up in a landfill.
Everything is also designed to be as durable as possible, and easy to either clean or repair. Instead of a glossy finish on wood components, for example, the designers chose a natural finish so scratches can be buffed out. Fitted fabric covers can be easily removed and replaced if needed, while sofa legs can be used on multiple models, making it easier to find replacements.
The company represents larger changes in the industry, with other startups also embracing more sustainable practices. Even Ikea is shifting to a circular model, recognizing that it’s necessary for it to reach its climate goals, and beginning to experiment with furniture rental and repair.