“最后一个,” the sailor yelled as the crane lifted the final container off the massive cargo ship. Roughly translated, that means “that’s the last one!” Unloading had been a long, arduous process. Each 40-foot container weighs, on average, about 30 tons and they are stacked five stories high on these ships, about 18,000 on a single ship.
Cargo ships arrive in our harbors by the dozens every day, hauling everything from toys to cars to furniture. We Americans know little about this global trade – and understand even less the effects on our economy and environment. A mega-ship burns 320 tons of low-grade fuel a day. That means a single ship releases more pollutants in one year than 50 million cars.
Imports from China are down 23% this year, largely because of the trade war. But China remains our largest importer of furniture. As a furniture expert, I know the stuff piled into those shipping containers is as poor in quality as the crude oil burned by the ships to bring it to our shores.
Our landfills are already groaning under massive piles of disposable furniture, which started pouring into our markets about twenty years ago. Made of particleboard held together with glue and plastic screws, this furniture has a useful life as long as a mosquito’s.
There’s a better solution. Here in the U.S., we have enough furniture to outfit almost every household, new and old. Quality furniture is here in consignment shops and other resale shops. You’ll even find some fine pieces at yard sales. This is recycling at its best. Buying used furniture means less pollution and less Styrofoam, which, by the way, has the lifespan of a cockroach. It is indestructible.
At Furniture Consignment Gallery, our goal is to make buying and selling preowned furniture fun, easy and affordable. So this Christmas, consider stopping by one of our three stores and adding some of our fabulous pieces to your sleigh. Santa would approve.