My top 10 eco/ recycled furniture designs
What is recycled/ upcycled furniture?
For an item to be classed as recycled, its material needs to have been broken down and made again into a new product. This usually happens by making a new material or item from our everyday waste products that fill the landfills. The recycling ‘loop’ is completed when the new recycled product is purchased for use. Upcycling, becoming increasingly popular in design, is the creation of a new usable product out of an old/ broken/ useless product (eg. creating a newly painted set of bookshelves from an old wooden ladder, otherwise destined for the dump).
Why buy recycled/ upcycled furniture?
I have made a quick summary list of some of the most important reasons for buying recycled/ upcycled.
- Recycled furniture increases demand for waste products, keeping them out of the dump, and putting money into the industry of recycling, creating more jobs within this industry.
- In buying recycled or upcycled furniture, and stopping more items heading to landfill, you are helping to reduce pollution and increase the chances of less landfills (and homes near them) being built. ‘Landfills sites are the largest source of methane production, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, whilst Incinerators produce hazardous air pollutants including known cancer-causing substances’ (taken from http://www.elementgreenrecycling.co.uk/).
- Helps to protect the wildlife from losing their habitat, through cutting down trees to make furniture. ’Forests are home to some two-thirds of the world’s plants and animals. As they are cleared and degraded, the unique flora and fauna that depend on these ecosystems become threatened with extinction’ (taken from http://www.rainforest-alliance.org ).
- It saves energy. It uses much less energy to recycle than to landfill and make products from new materials. It takes even less to upcycle and make something new out of something old or broken.
- It saves money. (Selling the recycled materials offsets any money spent collecting and processing)
- And one which I consider hugely important, you are working towards a more sustainable way of living, to consume and waste less.
Top 10 favourite eco furniture designs:
Below, I have sourced a pick of some of my personal favourites of either recycled or upcycled furniture. When you scroll through each one, try to think about anything you currently have sat at home that is unloved, broken, ready for the bin or useless, and then look at it again and try to think if it couldn’t be made into something new and loved again. And if your brain does not work in that way, don’t fear, there are loads of fantastic designers already making recycled and upcycled furniture to choose from….
1.The Murakami Rocking chair by Rochus Jacob. This wonderful looking chair produces power as it rocks, making the light glow as you gently rock’ n’ read. It is also light sensitive, meaning that in the daylight, if you rock, it will store the energy to use as you read in the evening- pure brilliance!
2.Cardboard furniture by Giles Miller
3.Recycled cabinet drawers by Rob Southcott
4.Wonderful assortment of suitcase chairs by Katie Thompson
5.Vintage Tennis racket mirrors (as featured in House& Garden)
6.High tech chairs by Design Gezunt, made with recycled metal and foam.
7.Not officially furniture, but what a great accessory! Beautiful sewn together doilies to throw over sofa, bed, table or whatever you fancy. By Marian Duijvestijn.
8.Coral chair by Ton Haas, made from fibre-glass reinforced Nylon.
9.Upcycled shelves made with shipping crates by Linda Jose. I just love the colours and effect this gives- great!
10.Paper table made from remnants of paper and recycled into this wonderful table form, by Matt Gagnon Studio.