According to the European Environmental Bureau, 10 million tonnes of furniture are discarded by businesses and consumers in EU Member States each year, the majority of which is destined for either landfill or incineration (Source).
New designs and concepts for office and laboratory furniture will be demonstrated at Cranfield and Warwick Universities in the UK and Camerino University in Italy.
Modular Furniture for Circularity
The modules and its component parts are connected with invisible coupling system that consists of durable perforated metal cylinders as fasteners. This delivers a very simple and very solid assembly that effectively avoids using any glue.
This also simplifies assembly and dis-assembly for easy reconfiguration of the modules into different furniture units.
Finally it makes for more efficient maintenance and the exchange of damaged parts for new ones, thus avoiding disposal of the unit and preserving the value of the furniture.
- The upholstery for the modules utilizes only 100% recyclable materials.
- Panels for the chairs and beds are made by partner NTT using circular air laid non-woven materials.
- The covers for the backing of the modules use a sliding padding system instead of velcro or adhesives, making replacement easy and efficient.
- The chair seat is fixed using a pin and slot system, again avoiding any the use of any permanent fastening system.
The particle board being used is produced in cooperation with KEAS and utilizes innovative eco-binder formulations developed by partners Akzo and Cranfield. The particle boards can be made with 100% waste content, and up to 50% particleboard waste while still maintaining good material properties and very low formaldehyde emmissions.
A non-formaldehyde based binder developed by Cranfield has also been tested and has shown similar promising results.
Non-woven Panels for Sofas
NTT provided non-woven panels for three different sofa designs, whereby the right half of each sofa consisted of the new material and the other half the original materials. The three sofas could then be tested by consumers to understand consumer perception of furniture made from recycled materials.
Because of the pandemic, only sofa B could be tested. The results show that the right side with the recycled material is found to be significantly less comfortable than the left side with the original materials. However, and perhaps surprisingly, testers that were informed that the right half contained recycled material were significantly more likely to find it more comfortable.
If you have any questions on the protorype development and testing, or would like to get in contact with the Ecobulk team for any other reason, please use the form below.