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Beautiful, sustainable and affordable office furniture

Office furniture has a surprisingly wasteful and short lifespan in the linear economy. Rype Office saves furniture from landfill and incineration and gives it a second life.

Image: Sitra

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Rype Office is a British office furniture remanufacturing and design company working to address the 300 tonnes of office furniture going to landfill every working day in the UK. They remanufacture unwanted office furniture to as-new condition using quality-controlled engineering processes.

Problem

Though often overlooked, office furniture is a significant environmental problem. Research shows that over the 40-year lifespan of a commercial building furniture is a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 30 per cent of the total embodied carbon footprint of a building. This is due to the established process of buying furniture new and skipping after its first life.

Solution

Rype Office offers their customers furniture with a reduced environmental footprint and a price tag less than half that of a new item. Rype Office sources used furniture from clients’ existing stock and the UK’s biggest clearance companies.

Their design service integrates remanufactured items along with furniture they have designed from waste materials into beautiful, sustainable and low cost workspaces. Every item of furniture sold comes with a take-back offer so it can be remanufactured for future lives.

The nature of Rype Office’s business enables them to effectively close the loop and oversee the return and renewal of products, extending their economic life.

Rype Office creates awareness about the circular economy by telling clients the provenance of their products and demonstrating the environmental, economic and social benefits of a fully circular business model.

Environmental impacts

When valuable material goes to landfills, not only does it occupy space and pollute ecosystems, but it also represents lost value and a lost opportunity for preventing the extraction of further virgin materials. Remanufacturing a piece of office furniture gives it an 80 per cent reduced environmental footprint compared to a new item.

Social impacts

On large projects Rype Office tries to offer as many jobs to disadvantaged people living in close proximity to the project as possible. They have provided 6500 hours of living wage employment to long-term unemployed or disabled people. When they design and manufacture new items they aim to work with partners with a shared commitment to social value creation. For example, Rype Office designs and manufactures a range of booths and soft seating with the Merthyr Tydfil Institute for the Blind.

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