Full circle – Looking beyond the product life cycle

4 April 2022

Receiving a shipment of new goods is always an exciting time, and the opportunity to offer a fresh look, greater comfort and new style is worth celebrating. But what do you do with the stuff at the end of the product life cycle? There is a responsibility to investigate opportunities beyond landfill when disposing of unwanted goods.

For any hotel, motel, B&B or lodge, the unmistakable fresh scent and feel of new comfortable beds, couches and chairs (and the sparkling aesthetic that goes with it) can make a huge impact on both guest and staff experiences. Staff like new furniture as it’s easier to keep clean and helps boost workplace pride. Guests always appreciate fresh comfort and style too – there’s nothing like it for making a good first impression. However, it is not just a case of ‘in with the new’. Businesses also need to be acutely aware of how they approach ‘out with the old’. Here is some inspiration for recycling linen and old furniture at the end of the product life cycle.


Most towns have second-hand stores operated by organisations such as The Salvation Army, Red Cross, RSPCA, Habitat for Humanity and St Vincent de Paul Society. Start looking here when considering what to do with items at the end of the product life cycle. Especially if the condition is fit for donation. Sales from these stores will go directly to the named charities. Get in contact with them directly to find out if they have stores in your town.

It may also be helpful to offer your second-hand goods for free on a local Facebook community page. This ensures that the goods go to community members who truly need them, but who cannot afford to buy them. They could also be offered for sale to recoup some of the replacement costs. Bear in mind the time and inconvenience of tyre-kickers and no-shows when embarking on your Facebook marketplace journey. 

Internationally many hotels are looking at stepping up their sustainability. Some have come up with solutions that may spark ideas locally too.

For example, Conscious Hotels in Amsterdam uses a system that compresses hotel linens and makes them into shelving. When replacing its suite of furniture, Sokos Hotel in Helsinki moved older furniture to its staff headquarters.

Some specialist recycling companies overseas deconstruct old mattresses to recycle the parts. Mattresses can be dangerous in landfill as they can have flammable pockets of air and leach chemicals, so this type of service is very beneficial for accommodation providers looking to achieve environmental responsibility. Unfortunately, such an option is not available at this time in New Zealand.

There are curtain recycling services such as Community Energy Action Curtain Bank in Christchurch and similar initiatives in Wellington and Auckland.


It is worth offering items at the end of the product life cycle online as there may be opportunities for reuse that you have not considered. Craftspeople may be interested in upcycling old pillows to make soft toys or cushions. Artists might need raw materials to re-shape in their own vision. This approach can not only help shift unnecessary items but also boost your sustainability credentials in the public mindset.

Old linen can be donated to the SPCA for pet bedding and cleaning. Painters, tradespeople and garages may also be interested in using old linen as drop sheets and rags. Local childcare centres may also take linens for craft projects.

When it comes to furniture, there may be creative ways to re-purpose old beds and other furniture. They can be transformed into artistic re-inventions of their former selves or gain a new purpose in their second life. This approach isn’t just about getting rid of unwanted items – you can also meet the needs of the local artistic community and create great stories to share with guests. Habitat for Humanity also has affiliates which run re-purposing workshops with donated goods.


Utilising upcycled products is a great strategy to extend product life cycle – if it aligns with your establishment aesthetic. 

Check out options such as these :

At Vendella we’ve been helping customers achieve their sustainability goals in no small part thanks to our Dream Green Initiative. We provide bedding made using microfibre from recycled plastic, resulting in the recycling of over 16.5 million bottles to date. Also, for every eight ‘Dream 900’ pillows sold we fund the planting of a native seedling. Since 2017 this has provided the funding to plant over 5,000 native trees throughout New Zealand.

Our Makers range of furniture is also FSC Certified. This timber is sourced from sustainably managed forests leaving native forests and wildlife habitats intact.

Excellent service, luxury and cleanliness remain hallmarks of great accommodation providers. Meeting sustainability criteria is now also a part of achieving 5-star status or even just pulling in the discerning traveller.

Doing what you can to reduce your environmental footprint is good for the earth and also great for business.

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