Landfill to lifestyle: This line of furniture is made entirely from post-consumer waste
A new entry to the eco-friendly furnishings market offers a collection of furniture and home accessories that comes with a bold set of standards.
By focusing on turning trash into treasure, Pentatonic aims to demonstrate a better way forward for home furnishings than the standard of using virgin materials to create relatively short-lived products. We already have enough glass, plastic, and metals on the surface of the planet to make what is needed, although mostly in the form of "the world's most abundant and dangerous resource - human trash." Pentatonic is tapping in to this waste stream for feedstock for its products, which are intended to be truly "circular" in nature, by virtue of being made from 100% recycled materials, being fully recyclable, and coming with a lifetime buy-back guarantee.
For some perspective on just one aspect of the waste issue, it's estimated that globally, about 480 billion plastic bottles were purchased last year, and that figure is rising, with some projections saying that by 2021, we may be buying more than 580 billion plastic bottles per year, and only a fraction of that is being recycled. A staggering 8.3 billions of tons of plastic has been manufactured since the '50s, with most of it ending up in landfills of the oceans, which is said to be "smothering ecosystems in plastic." Another common waste item from our era of affluenza is electronics, or e-waste, which can yield valuable metals and glass that don't require mining or extensive processing to reclaim, but which often end up getting literally trashed instead of recycled.
According to Pentatonic co-founders Jamie Hall and Johann Boedecker, the company aims to disrupt the furniture industry not only through its use of 100% post-consumer waste to craft its products "without compromising an inch on design, performance, or function," but also by incorporating automotive manufacturing technology to build it. This is said to enable a scalable production process that also enables 'localization' by sourcing feedstock from near the production facility instead of from across the world.
"Everything we make is from trash. This is the most fundamental element of who we are. We simply refuse to add to the abundance of waste on our streets, in our landfill sites, rivers and oceans. We exist to reduce this poisonous glut. To use human ingenuity and conscious consumerism to design our way out of this looming disaster. With our unique technology, developed over 15 years of research and application in industrial spaces, we’ve learnt how to most effectively transform trash into desirable new products and materials. Glass, plastic, metals, food, even cigarettes: it can all be reused many times, without compromising on quality or performance. Each new life that we can give to a material can be an improvement on the last." - Pentatonic
Pentatonic products are designed to be simple to build (no tools required), to be modular and interchangeable, and the focus on using standardized components is said to lead to more efficient manufacturing and shipping. In addition, each component is assigned a unique identification number that states the manufacture date and location, the type of waste used in its production, and who has 'owned' it before ("track that component's journey through the entirety of its lifecycle"). All products come with a buy-back guarantee, after which the returned items will be recycled to be used again and again.
"Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability. As such, this represents a radical departure from the traditional design, manufacturing and consumer service models in the homeware and accessories industry. This enables us to simply recycle our products into new products at the end of life, and thus brings our consumer into our supply chain. This inclusivity and incentivizing will deliver an almost zero waste of our products post-use." - Pentatonic Co-Founder/CEO Johann Boedecker
At the core of this year's lineup from Pentatonic is the modular AirTool system (made from "tactile felts, luxurious fabrics, ultra hardened textiles" and hand-finished metals), which allows the end user to create "a great number of outcomes with just a few components," and the tables and chairs can be augmented with additional components. To complement the furniture, the company also offers a collection of glassware made from upcycled smartphone glass, which is said to be one of the lesser-known, but no less wasteful, aspect of our modern smartphone addiction.
Pentatonic just attracted some £4,300,000 of investments, which will be used to scale up the company's operation in both the UK and Europe in a bid to revitalize the consumer furnishings market while bringing positive environmental change to it. Sales will be through the company's website and various pop-up stores, and the line will be displayed at the upcoming London Design Festival. Learn more at Pentatonic.