Sustainable office furniture

Remanufactured office furniture offers four types of social value

Environment

One third of office furniture is sent to landfill. WRAP estimates that in 2012 this amounted to 75,000 tonnes in the UK. That is 300 tonnes of office furniture going to landfill every working day.

For more sustainable office furniture, we remanufacture items, returning them to their original condition, continuing to use undamaged parts for the purpose that they were intended.

Avoided raw material mining reduces damage to biodiversity and preserves finite resources, avoided transport saves GHG emissions and avoided processing from virgin raw materials saves substantial energy and water.

Experts have quantified these benefits from remanufacturing to be:

  • 85% production energy use reduction (Giuntini & Gaudette, 2003)
  • 80% materials saving (McKenna, 2012)
  • >90% water saving (Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre (ARTC))
  • >80% reduction in emissions (ARTC)

We are happy to quantify these benefits for our customers to include in their sustainability reporting.

For these reasons, remanufacturing your furniture can generate BREEAM and LEED credits for your office/building.

Community

Because remanufacturing occurs in-country, skilled local jobs are created. The remanufacturing process requires a range of skills and technical know-how to disassemble each item, assess the condition of each component and re-assemble the furniture to a high quality standard.

And because remanufacturing involves both disassembly and re-assembly, it creates twice as many jobs as assembling from virgin materials.

The economics of remanufacturing mean that these jobs will always be local – transport costs to ship overseas and back again prohibit off-shoring of remanufacturing.

Disadvantaged

Remanufacturing furniture is ideal work for those facing the greatest barriers to employment. So for large projects where a meaningful period of employment can be provided, Rype Office employs disadvantaged staff.

For example, eight long term unemployed with disabilities were engaged for a three month project in Wales, creating an employment pathway that resulted in three finding full time positions at the end of the project.

For flooring, we are partnered with Greenstream Flooring, a social enterprise creating vocational training for long term unemployed in impoverished Welsh valleys and with a mission to provide flooring to low income households.

For booths, Rype Office sources frames from the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind, channelling expenditure to aid those with disabilities while increasing the profile of MTIB through Rype Office’s marketing activities.

National

Remanufacturing improves the national balance of payments because we are sending less of our country’s wealth overseas.

It also creates jobs, stimulating the national economy and increasing the tax base to benefit everyone.

A further benefit is improved resource security, so we rely less for our prosperity on the supply of raw materials and goods from other countries and are less exposed to commodity price rises in the future.

Remanufacturing therefore provides economically sustainable office furniture.

References:

Advanced Remanufacturing and Technology Centre, Singapore, website http://www.artc.a-star.edu.sg/about-artc/remanufacturing.aspx [accessed April 2014].

Giuntini, R., Gaudette, K. Remanufacturing: The next great opportunity for boosting US productivity, Business Horizons, Nov-Dec 2003, p. 44.

McKenna, R. President and CEO, Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association, Testimony before the International Trade Commission on: Remanufactured Goods: An Overview of the U.S. and Global Industries, Markets, and Trade, Investigation No. 332-525, Feb 2012.

Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Furniture Mass and Product Flow Data to Inform Re-use Market Development in the UK, Oct 2013.