Sustainable roundups: 12 dining chairs for people and the planet

in Sustainable Roundups

What makes a chair sustainable?
As always, the word sustainability embeds multiple meanings that range from a mindful use of natural resources to social & ethical considerations.

In this episode of Sustainable Roundups, we’re discovering 12 sustainable dining chairs taken from SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab), the sustainable interior design directory I curate.
 
 
Moodboard & detailed product descriptions at the end of the article

Upcycled plastic

Plastic pollution is one of the most urgent environmental problems of our times. The design industry is experimenting with many ways to reuse plastic waste, and chairs are by far one of the most popular options.

From plastic bottles (opened in a new window/tab) and fishing nets (opened in a new window/tab), to household trash (opened in a new window/tab) and industrial waste (opened in a new window/tab), many different types of plastic waste have been transformed into chairs. To do that, the basic process entails shredding the plastic into tiny pieces, melting and moulding.

Another important aspect to consider is whether or not the chair can be disassembled in its components, as this allows recycling the same materials over and over again.

Recycled plastic chairs in a restaurant design.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Fritz Hansen (opened in a new window/tab)
Recycled plastic chair on a beach.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Wehlers (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Recycled plastic chairs in a canteen design.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: NCP (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

Upcycled plastic - other uses

Besides a solid plastic chair, plastic waste can be reused in other ways.
For example, the "plastic paste" can be mixed with wood chips (opened in a new window/tab), that will give an interesting texture to the final product.
Another option is turning plastic waste into felt (opened in a new window/tab) which – among its many applications – can indeed become the seat of a chair!

Plastic & wood chairs around a table in a home.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: IKEA (opened in a new window/tab)
Felt plastic chairs in a cafe design.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Vepa (opened in a new window/tab)

Natural materials

In principle, solid wood and natural fibres are sustainable materials.
What makes the biggest difference here are sourcing and making details.
Is the wood coming from sustainably managed forests?
Are the natural fibres sourced in the respect of the environment?
Is production also helping local communities?
These are some of the aspects that make a chair sustainable beyond the material it’s made of.

Other elements that contribute to a positive sustainability scorecard of a product are the availability of spare parts to repair it, the carbon footprint of the making process as well as a company's support to environmental regeneration programs.

Cantilever wicker chairs around a big wood table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Sustainable Furniture (opened in a new window/tab)
Wicker chairs in a colourful living room.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Fair Furniture (opened in a new window/tab)
Solid wood chair in a home setting at breakfast time.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Takt (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Solid wood chairs styling around a table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Hamran (opened in a new window/tab)

Waste materials

Repurposing waste as a raw material is one of the guiding principles of circular design.
To mention some examples, materials like leftover beech veneer (opened in a new window/tab), discarded textiles (opened in a new window/tab) and recycled paper (opened in a new window/tab) can all be turned into a chair!

Speaking of circularity, another important step towards a circular model comes from offering renting and buyback options, which basically divert a furniture piece from going to landfill at the end of its lifecycle.

Chair with recycled wood veneer styled next to a table.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Mater (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Top down view of chairs in an empty room.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Planq (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)
Recycled newspaper chairs in a rustic interior.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Officine Tamborrino (via Instagram) (opened in a new window/tab)

 
The bottom line is that sustainability is a wide topic that includes materials, processes, purchasing options, use of resources and more.
Capturing this complexity is one of the objectives of SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab), which is why each product comes with a description pointing out exactly what makes it sustainable!

Below is a recap of the 12 chairs from this roundup, linked to their SforSustainable description (but there's even more to discover if you look for sustainable chairs on SforSustainable (opened in a new window/tab)!)

Click on the names for a detailed explanation of what makes each chair a sustainable choice

Moodboard showing 12 sustainable dining chairs.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>

1.NO2 Recycle - by Fritz Hansen (opened in a new window/tab)
2.R.U.M. - by Wehlers (opened in a new window/tab)
3.S-1500 - by NCP (opened in a new window/tab)
4.Felt - by Vepa (opened in a new window/tab)
5.ODGER - by IKEA (opened in a new window/tab)
6.Zorro - by Sustainable Furniture (opened in a new window/tab)
7.Rosarito - by Fair Furniture (opened in a new window/tab)
8.Cross - by Takt (opened in a new window/tab)
9.Under - by Hamran (opened in a new window/tab)
10.No Smoking - by Officine Tamborrino (opened in a new window/tab)
11.Ubu - by Planq (opened in a new window/tab)
12.Nova - by Mater (opened in a new window/tab)

Silvia's signature

Share this post

Comments

Don't be shy, let me know what you think!

Newsletter

Join 100+ biophilic and sustainable design enthusiasts on the monthly newsletter.
I'll never share your email with third parties and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Sustainable Product Picks
Scroll