Used and recyclable have limits
While used office furniture has always been an option, it has traditionally involved compromising on quality. And some manufacturers produce furniture that can be recycled, but this does not usually provide cost savings for buyers.
Remanufacturing is better
Remanufacturing involves none of the quality compromises while bringing substantial cost and environmental savings, as discussed in the Next Manufacturing Revolution report.
Here is how Rype Office, an award-winning furniture company using Circular Economy principles, does it:
Rype Office takes the long life components of used furniture, like steel frames which last for hundreds of years, and rebuilds the rest of the piece around them. Modern precision equipment and the latest resurfacing technologies produce high quality pieces that look like new – a real alternative to expensive new furniture.
Those long life components are the most expensive and environmentally harmful to make new, so the cost is reduced by half and the environmental footprint by more than two thirds.
High quality furniture at a good price
For example, the remanufactured Orangebox G64 shown below (a leading ergonomic chair still in production having sold 1.3 million) is indistinguishable from new. Rype Office sells it for £240 compared to the new recommended retail price of £600.
End of life savings too
Consistent with the principles of the Circular Economy (as espoused by the Next Manufacturing Revolution, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and The Great Recovery), Rype Office offers to lease its furniture or buy it back furniture at the end of each life. This saves customers on disposal costs while enabling the furniture to be remanufactured over and over. Or customers can have their furniture remanufactured by Rype Office for even greater savings.
New delivery model
Rype Office has recognised that to offer circular office furniture, a new business model is needed, beyond the traditional furniture manufacturing and distribution model.
For example, Rype Office provides a design and project management service to deliver attractive, productive, healthy, low footprint offices at a budget-friendly price. Distribution agreements with high quality manufacturers allow Rype Office to also source new pieces that can be remanufactured in the future – so clients can also have the latest designs in their furniture mix.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr Greg Lavery is a Director of Lavery/Pennell a consulting and venturing company focussed on rapid sustainable innovation. Lavery/Pennell is a founding member of the Next Manufacturing Revolution and was the lead author of the Next Manufacturing Revolution report. Rype Office was designed by Lavery/Pennell and the author is a Director.