The truth about chair recycling

All of us do some sort of recycling at least once a week if not more. From writing on both sides of a sheet of paper to putting out your recycling bins for the council to collect every week, to taking part in your company's recycling programme, it has become a way of life for us all. Office furniture is no different of course, with one of our seating manufacturers boasting that their chairs are 95% recyclable. It's very interesting to see where it all goes. 

  •  Plastics - The plastic content on a chair (arms, backs, base castors) is shredded, melted, extruded into pellet from and then moulded into new product.  
  • Metals - The steel is put into a furnace where molten iron is added and then heated up to 1700 degrees centigrade. The liquid metal is the poured into a mould to form big slabs which are then rolled into coils. These coils are then used to make all sorts of steel products like bikes, cars, bridges, paperclips or even new food & drink cans. 
  • Fabric - the favric can come back as car roof lining insulation, stuffing for cuddly toys, mattress filling or as chair fabric once again. 
  • Foam - the foam can come back as underlay, sofa arms and other hard wearing applications. 

Interesting stuff. But who pays for all this? Well its a grey area as the costs are high and who wants to pay out all these costs as well as buying the chair in the first place and the replacement chair when the original chair is recycled. This has yet to be sorted but it will need to be addressed when these chairs reach their end of life. It would be great if there was a place where chairs could be taken and then dismantled and the components recycled in one place. Perhaps this will happen one day but, as far as I know, no-one can do this yet.