While each year, more than 2 million tons of furniture are thrown away in France, SSE structures have decided to tackle the issue of the second life of furnitures

Eco-design, reuse, upcycling1. While each year, more than 2 million tons of furniture are thrown away in France2, SSE structures have decided to tackle the issue of the second life of furnitures. Although they are agile and creative, they still need support in structuring their industry to consolidate their value chain and network with other existing players.

Entirely set up as a circular economy, the Maison des économies solidaires et innovantes (House of solidarity and innovative economies) has shown that it is possible to set up a space of more than 1,000m² without using new raw materials and with taste! Some twenty structures have participated in the development of this emblematic site, which has led to the emergence of a first Ile-de-France ecosystem based on responsible housing.

Despite the growing enthusiasm of buyers for sustainable furniture, these structures are encountering obstacles that prevent them from scaling up: lack of strong supply-chain of recycled materials, lack of storage areas to store them, restrictive regulations linked to the status of waste, poor image of the products.

To meet these challenges, the association Les Canaux, in partnership with the eco-organisation Valdelia, has launched the Circular Booster, the first program aimed at structuring the sector of furniture manufactured and designed based on a circular economy model. Objectives: to encourage the emergence of new producers, to develop the sector’s economic development, and to sustain a network of actors from this sector. Joined by the “Industrie professionnel des Manufacturiers d’Ameublement” (the professional industry of furniture manufacturers), this program mobilises some thirty partners committed to a more sustainable and virtuous economy: local authorities, institutions, large companies, property developers, and structures of the circular economy.

For its first edition, the Circular Booster is supporting 15 structures throughout the country for 18 months. The program will accompany them until September 2020 in the prototyping and marketing of a series of furniture made from recycled materials and in the scaling up of their structure.

And the initial results are promising: ten prototypes have been completed and are to be presented in a 200m2 design exhibition at the Grand Palais when the health situation linked to Covid-19 will allow it. Initial contracts have been signed, notably with local authorities such as Meudon and Paris for the fitting out of libraries, the Crous de Paris for their first student residence made based on the circular economy model, and Vinci to furnish its new headquarters.

The ultimate goal? To make circular economy furnishing the norm by supporting public policies favorable to the reuse of materials and by promoting circular economy furnishing in public and private markets.

Les Canaux, Pour des économies
solidaires et innovantes

Footnotes

1. Upcycling consists of transforming reusable materials (production scraps, unsold goods, materials destined for the dumpster) into products or materials with high added value. For example, Maximum manufactures chairs from industrial plastic scrap.

2. Data compiled from the Annual Report on Waste Furniture Components, Ademe, 20217.