Innovation That Matters

Furniture company combines recycling and design


A German furniture maker turns trash into designer products by creating its own materials from discarded items.

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According to National Geographic, just 9 percent of all the plastics that have ever been created have been recycled. It’s an astonishing figure, but luckily a number of companies are working to develop novel ways to recycle such trash, for example, by turning cigarette butts into asphalt or plastic bags into clothing. Now a German furniture company is devising novel ways of turning different types of waste into home furnishings.

Pentatonic invents new materials using trash, and then uses these materials to design beautiful and useful objects. From glassware made of smartphone glass, to ‘felt’ made from plastic, and knitted fabric made of upcycled fibers, all of Pentatonics’ products are made from single materials, with no added resins, glues, toxins or additives, so they can be easily re-recycled into yet more new materials. To encourage recycling and re-use, the company maintains a ‘buy-back’ guarantee, promising to pay a set amount for each piece that is returned to the company when the customer is ready to get rid of it. The furniture range is modular and contains interchangeable components, allowing customers to change the seat of a chair, for instance, or convert chairs into tables.


The company is attending the London Design Festival 2017 (16-24 September) where it will present the world’s first mobile off-grid recycling plant. The installation will be made of architectural tiles using London’s rubbish to demonstrate the power and potential of upcycling. Pentatonics’ goal is to encourage a culture of circularity, where everything is recycled and turned into innovative new products. What other ways might there be to encourage circularity and recycling?




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