| 15.5°C Dublin

Trash to treasure: the movement making our furniture more sustainable

Designers and retailers are stepping up efforts to use recycled materials while keeping our furniture and homewares stylish

Close

Sustainable inspiration from Bloomingville

Sustainable inspiration from Bloomingville

Bloomingville

Bloomingville

Throw, €21.50, bloomingville.com

Throw, €21.50, bloomingville.com

Watering can, €65, fermliving.ie

Watering can, €65, fermliving.ie

Pull strap coffee table, €493, amara.com

Pull strap coffee table, €493, amara.com

Glass vase, €22, eu.toa.st

Glass vase, €22, eu.toa.st

Wooden stool, €59.99, zarahome.com

Wooden stool, €59.99, zarahome.com

Hee Welling chair, €278, nordicelements.com

Hee Welling chair, €278, nordicelements.com

Lampshade, €26, ikea.com/ie

Lampshade, €26, ikea.com/ie

/

Sustainable inspiration from Bloomingville

Where once there was a whiff of laid-back hippie from our eco-conscious homewares (we all remember the iconic 1970s macrame plant holder that has boogied its way back into fashion), they are now working harder than ever for our planet, ditching the hippie tag in favour of design-led, stylish accessories and furniture.

Over nine million tonnes of furniture goes to landfill each year — that’s a lot of tables and chairs, and a pretty sobering statistic. So responsibly reusing old sofas and chairs, for example, certainly helps.

But what about the 380 million tonnes of plastic we discard every year? Or the fact that, second to oil, the textile and clothing industry is the largest polluter in the world? It would be nice to think that everything we threw away had a new life, and while we’re not there yet, there is a growing circular economy bent on keeping materials in use. The pandemic has been a wake-up call in more ways than one, with many of us making more considered choices when it comes to our buying habits and how those choices affect our planet.

Close

Throw, €21.50, bloomingville.com

Throw, €21.50, bloomingville.com

Throw, €21.50, bloomingville.com

The shift had begun before the pandemic, of course, but seems to have dug its heels in during the last two years. More than ever before, consumers are demanding traceability — the recycled chair, table or lamp we purchase must have a transparent and ethical supply chain and be made with sustainable materials.

Close

Watering can, €65, fermliving.ie

Watering can, €65, fermliving.ie

Watering can, €65, fermliving.ie

Many designers and retailers are also stepping up to the mark, sourcing materials from sustainable sources and creating beautiful furniture made from discarded plastic, leather and textiles. Dutch designer Simone Post recently joined forces with retail giant Adidas to create colourful rugs from discarded trainers, and Danish furniture designer Hee Welling, known for his creations for Hay, has recently launched the Rely range of chairs, made from upcycled plastic household waste, available from Irish shop Nordic Elements.

Close

Hee Welling chair, €278, nordicelements.com

Hee Welling chair, €278, nordicelements.com

Hee Welling chair, €278, nordicelements.com

Home & Property Newsletter

Get the best home, property and gardening stories straight to your inbox every Saturday

This field is required

Earlier this year, Ikea launched a scheme to buy back unwanted furniture from customers to resell as part of the Swedish conglomerate’s efforts to reduce its impact on the environment. Making products from recycled materials is one of the chain’s most important business models. Spanish fishermen have been helping the company to collect ocean plastic to develop textiles and products, such as their Knopare bathroom hook made from fishing nets.

Close

Glass vase, €22, eu.toa.st

Glass vase, €22, eu.toa.st

Glass vase, €22, eu.toa.st

High-street stores and smaller retailers are making efforts too. Many brands, such as LSA International, are producing beautiful glassware without the guilt, reusing old glass for stylish tumblers and coupes. Toast, Zara Home, French Connection, Amara, La Redoute and Irish brand Glint Glass Studios are following suit with recycled vases and drinking glasses.

Close

Wooden stool, €59.99, zarahome.com

Wooden stool, €59.99, zarahome.com

Wooden stool, €59.99, zarahome.com

Many high-street chains, while never a destination for mindful interiors in the past, have recently ramped up their sustainable offerings. H&M’s For The Love of Craft collection includes mouth-blown pitchers and glassware, baskets woven from banana fibre, and wooden tables and boards made with FSC-certified wood.

Close

Pull strap coffee table, €493, amara.com

Pull strap coffee table, €493, amara.com

Pull strap coffee table, €493, amara.com

Of course, it’s no surprise the world’s most sustainable businesses are all Nordic. Danish brand Really was one of the first to recognise the potential of upcycling end-of-life textiles, using them for furniture and accessories on an industrial scale.

Close

Lampshade, €26, ikea.com/ie

Lampshade, €26, ikea.com/ie

Lampshade, €26, ikea.com/ie

Scandinavian retailers Bloomingville and Ferm Living followed suit, recycling wool and cotton for cushions, throws and rugs. “Our new fabrics and rugs will take back into use around 270,000 plastic bottles a year,” says Ferm Living’s creative director, Trine Andersen.

In the hands of the finest artisans, craftsmen and designers, our rubbish can be remarkable.


Most Watched





Privacy