Recycling is a process where we change our waste streams into new valuable resources. In our case, we scale up several resources, and bring them back into the economy. We make sure that every furniture design we make contains at least 90% recycled material, and that after the end of the life cycle, our furniture products can return in our remanufacturing process. This way we create an end waste stream policy for our future generations.
incorporating recycled materials into designs
Circular economy is leading in our company, which means we need to rethink every product we design and manufacture. So, for example, instead of using wood for our internal sofa structures, we use plastic waste gathered from the ocean and land. The design for this structure is different than working with traditional materials. Same with the comfort (foam) and fabrics. There is a lot of furniture waste in the world, which means a lot of foam resources to be used again. For our fabrics, we collaborate with a company that processes post-consumer textiles into new fabrics. Circular economy is all about collaboration. We have a strong connection with NGO’s cleaning up the environment, and also recycling companies who clean and shred our materials. We also look at different industries for solutions or waste streams. For example, if we use metal, we look around in the metal industry for cutting waste. If we want to use wood elements, we can use bamboo or reuse materials from an existing project. Sourcing from a project is also really important to end furniture waste streams.
impacts of recycled materials on design process
Designing the old fashion way is not possible if you want to change the world. For every piece we design we have to start from the basics; What kind of materials can we use? What does the material do? How can we use it again after the end of the life cycle?
It does not only ask a lot from our designers but also our production and sales team need to be connected with the process. What is possible in production, and how can we convince our customers to become a part of a change, by using recycled materials? It is also important to look at every detail in the design process. We developed, for example, the reusable packaging cover. When you design something good for the world, don’t wrap it in plastic!
environmental impact of recycling
2 billion trees are cut annually for the furniture industry, legal and illegally.
8 million tons of plastic waste dumped in the ocean every year. Those are just 2 samples from the problems we are facing.
Recycling has several advantages and is key to making our world a bit better. Less new raw materials are needed, which means that fewer trees have to be felled for the furniture industry, or less petroleum is needed for the production of plastic.
Less agricultural land is needed for the production of, for example, wood or cotton so that more land remains available for food production. The emission of greenhouse gases is falling because the reuse of materials costs less energy than producing them new.
And we need to get the idea out of our minds that using recycled materials is “dirty” or “cheap”. We all know the glass pot with vegetables in our fridge. That’s made from 85% recycled glass, without being bothered. Why not with furniture or other products? This is why the product design industry has to lead the way to use recycled materials.