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Amid tech downsizing, Bay Area firm helps give office furniture a new home

Amid tech downsizing, Bay Area firm helps give office furniture a new home
Amid tech downsizing, Bay Area firm helps give office furniture a new home 03:05

SAN FRANCISCO – As tech companies continue to layoff tens of thousands of workers and downsize their office space, there's a glut of office furniture left behind., an office furniture reselling business based in San Jose, is helping companies find an environmentally-friendly solution.

A San Francisco company just gave Reseat founder Brandi Susewitz dozens of office chairs for free.  She often gets hundreds. As companies downsize and say goodbye to office space, Susewitz inks contract after contract, to either sell, donate, or throw away most of their furnishings.

"I've seen the waste happen for 25-plus years and it's absolutely mind blowing," said Susewitz.

San Francisco's office vacancy rate shot up to nearly 30% in the first quarter, nearly eight times the pre-pandemic level according to data from real estate brokerage CBRE.

Susewitz started selling office furniture after dropping out of high school. She lost her job as a furniture dealer at the onset of the pandemic.

"I just wanted to be able to pay my bills and stop drawing money out of our 401(k) to meet the bills," said Susewitz. 

Now, she's running a booming business working with companies like Uber, Loreal, and Tik Tok.

 "I just kind of took a chance because what else was I going to do," said Susewitz.

Friday Apaliski, the founder of the Sustainability Concierge, helps clients make their homes more environmentally-friendly.

 "During the pandemic as folks were setting up home offices, we were seeing people trade and reuse furniture all over the place. There's absolutely no reason why corporations shouldn't be doing the same," said Apaliski.

The EPA estimates 17 billion pounds of office assets end up in landfills every year.

It's too costly for companies to execute inventories, manage, and sell items. 

 "A lot of the big companies, you'd be surprised they don't have a way of managing their office furniture," said Susewitz. 

"We should be demanding that these corporations utilize the furniture that they have, trade, or exchange and design around reuse," said Apaliski. 

What companies get in return is the messaging of a "circular economy" to satiate their eco-conscious base, and reach sustainability goals.

"That is what this generation cares about," said Susewitz.  

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