Durat buys back the furniture it has made from recycled plastic: “We aim at a fully closed loop”
Durat makes fully recyclable material for furniture from waste plastics and buys the used products back. According to CEO Heikki Karppinen, the company aims to keep all of their products in circulation so that not a single item ends up as waste.
“Durat has always been a circular economy company. Our story began in the 1990s, when our founders Kari Karppinen and Ulla Tuominen were considering how the amount of waste and the use of plastic could be reduced. They developed Durat, a material made from 30 per cent waste plastic. Durat was ahead of its time.
The waste plastic we use is collected from factories, broken down into granules in our factory in Rymättylä and used as material for different kinds of furniture. Durat’s products, such as sinks and bathtubs, are sold to schools, restaurants and hotels.
Our material is also fully recyclable. We have always taken advantage of used products by selling them to a new owner or by using them as raw material for new products. In the past few years, we have developed a buy-back service through which customers can sell their used products back to us. With the service, the customer receives compensation for recycling the product instead of having to pay the waste charge. Those buying a second-hand item in turn get a first-class product that does not burden the environment.
The challenge with high-quality furniture that lasts long is that it is difficult to convey the message about the buy-back opportunity from one owner to another. We also do not always know all the places where Durat’s furniture is used. However, customers have been enthusiastic about the ability to get compensation for recycling the products. Indeed, our aim is that every product we manufacture will return to us in the end and that way will be reused.
I have been working at Durat for 15 years. Interest in the circular economy runs in the family as I ended up working in the company through my father Kari – first in international assignments and later as the CEO.
In the past couple of years, the fast change of attitude in society and among customers has surprised me. Recycled and recyclable products are very much sought after. Still, we are not happy with just environmental friendliness. It is important to us that our products are also beautiful and functional.
Durat continues to be a pioneer. Our products will also be able to respond to future requirements, for example, when waste charges become stricter and the life cycle of products will be more closely monitored.”