Sustainable Roundups: 12 dining chairs for people and the planet

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, 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 and fishing nets, to household trash and industrial waste, 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.

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, that will give an interesting texture to the final product.
Another option is turning plastic waste into felt which — among its many applications — can indeed become the seat of a chair!

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.

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, discarded textiles and recycled paper 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.

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, 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!)

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

1.NO2 Recycle — by Fritz Hansen
2.R.U.M. — by Wehlers
3.S-1500 — by NCP
4.Felt — by Vepa
6.Zorro — by Sustainable Furniture
7.Rosarito — by Fair Furniture
8.Cross — by Takt
9.Under — by Hamran
10.No Smoking — by Officine Tamborrino
11.Ubu — by Planq
12.Nova — by Mater

Originally published at on November 27, 2020.

Interior designer+Content creator on a mission: making interiors good for wellbeing (biophilic design) & our planet. My entire blog:

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