Circular economy mindfulness is changing the commercial furniture industry, for the better.
As we scroll through our feeds, the news we hear and read can make it feel like we are living amongst a world of chaos. In particular, getting a lot of attention is our planet’s declining environmental health. A frightening reality for us all, especially considering it is the only home we know.
At times it can seem that us humans are the cause of a large sum of the world’s woes, but excitingly we are also capable of finding the solutions to them.
As end consumers, the scale of the problem can seem an overwhelming task for the tools we hold in our hands. The good news is that accumulative lifestyle and purchasing choices of individuals within the greater population can make a big difference to the larger picture impact.
Thanks to a rising tide of product manufacturers acknowledging their power and position to enact a desperate change in the course of our environmental future, the ability to do some good is now much more accessible.
Cleverly conceptualised technologies, initiatives and processes from manufacturers means the ability to make responsible choices for consumers can now be facilitated through everyday purchasing decisions. Choosing to purchase with brands that align themselves with credible environmental standards and processes can grant customers peace of mind that we are all playing our part in righting some of the world’s wrongs.
If environmental mindfulness has been a longstanding priority of yours, you may already be familiar with the term ‘circular economy’. Adopted by manufacturers, the circular economy mode of operation helps them, and their customers focus on new ways to design, produce, and consume products that won’t deplete finite resources or cause harm to the environment.
This practice is defined by three main principles: eliminating waste; keeping materials in use; and the regeneration of natural systems. Compared to a more linear economy where materials are taken, made into a product, and then left to waste as they fall out of use; circular economy links the start to the tail end of the consumer cycle to reduce pressure on the environment.
Amongst the responsible manufacturers signing up to the circular economy movement are furniture brands who, by looking at their materials and production processes, are providing stylish and credible ways to help our planet for generations to come.
Furniture Choices for the Environmentally Minded
Here’s a look at just some of the quality Australian and international brands tackling the issue of waste and employing circular economy in furniture design. What makes these brands so impressive is their ability to maintain innovative and functional design whilst respecting our environment.
Herman Miller is a founding member of NextWave Plastics, an association of brands seeking to develop the first-ever global network of ocean-bound plastic supply chains. By integrating repurposed plastic into Herman Miller’s products, they positively reduce the volume of plastic waste on the planet. Combining their pioneering efforts in ergonomic design with their target of reducing their impact on the environment, Herman Miller products such as the classic Aeron chair are now made with ocean bound plastics and with the future in mind.
Flokk has built a strong reputation on their mindfulness toward environmental impact that flows into their design and manufacturing processes. Flokk’s 5III Principle defines how every product is designed and manufactured. Their five circular design principles are: low weight; fewer components; correct materials; long lifespan; and design with disassembly in mind. These are tied into their three focus areas of climate, resources, and health, providing a holistic furniture design approach.
Thinking Works’ EONA (Everything Old is New Again) modular table exemplifies this circular economy within its design. Manufactured from post-consumer recycled material, it boasts outstanding environmental credentials coupled with a sleek and timeless design. EONA utilises 100% post-consumer recycled aluminium to produce the legs and leg inserts and has been designed for complete disassembly, ready for recycling at the end of its life. A well-delivered design that will be making a positive impact for years to come.
Acoustic product manufacturer Autex are taking big steps to ensure that sustainability is intrinsically tied to every aspect of their operations, from supply chain to production and transport. Boasting impressive environmental certifications Autex’s 2021 Sustainability Report details their goals and actions including maximising the use of repurposed raw supplies with products across their range being made from 60-80% recycled materials.