Reducing Furniture Waste in Dallas

CouchCycled partners pick up, repair, and resell secondhand pieces

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 9 million tons of furniture get tossed each year – or about 5% of everything brought to landfills. 

CouchCycled is helping Dallasites bring new life to their pre-owned pieces by picking up gently used couches, sectionals, and armchairs, then refurbishing, cleaning, and reselling them. The business serves Dallas, Plano, and surrounding suburbs. 

After those who want their items removed fill out a form online, the CouchCycled team schedules a pickup time, then inspects, cleans, and repairs the pieces in the warehouse before reselling them online. A portion of pickup fees and sales profits go to the Dallas Furniture Bank. CouchCycled also donates pieces they can’t resell that are still in usable condition.

“We don’t do any reupholstery or anything because that’s really going to directly impact the ability to keep the furniture affordable, and so what we usually do with those items that still have a good amount of life left – those are the ones that we’ll clean and repair and resell,” co-owner Roman Pennell said. “Other items, like maybe a floral coach that’s 20 years old, still very sturdy – we may not be able to resell that, but it still has a good amount of life left. That’s something that we know families in need can still benefit from.” 

Pennell and fellow co-owner Andrew Muniz, who have backgrounds in software sales, came up with the concept last summer.

“We started by looking at furniture flipping, so we purchased furniture on Facebook marketplace that we would then clean and repair,” Pennell said. “While that was lucrative, one of the things that we noticed is that it wasn’t actually doing anything to reduce furniture waste.”

The items they were buying would have been purchased and used by someone else, he explained. Getting furniture that would have gone to a landfill took pivoting to a new business model.

Pennell said the ability to help reduce furniture waste and give back to their community was their motivation for using their sales experience in a new way with CouchCycled.

“One of the things that I liked working for software sales organizations is that they are very progressive in putting employees, putting others, putting the environment – putting those first is something that they really prioritize,” he said. “It’s funny to think that we got into this with no previous experience (selling furniture), but that being said, the mission itself was a big motivator for getting into it.”

In the future, Pennell said he hopes to increase their online marketplace, provide a physical space where people can browse their items (their warehouse in Plano is primarily used for storage), and expand further into furniture consignment. 

“We want to make sure that we are really becoming a trusted source for used furniture in the area,” he said.

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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

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