The Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), a UK-based international group, is taking steps to support what it calls a circular economy. This term refers to a closed loop through which raw materials could be consistently processed into reusable furniture, which would later be recycled to prevent waste.
To determine how feasible this is, FIRA began a survey this October to poll members of the furniture industry for information that might help make furniture use more “circular.” The concept of the cycle also breaks up reuse into different stages, allowing for researchers to determine what does and doesn’t need to change at each level.
For example, Resource Magazine notes that the design stage plays a critical role in whether or not a furniture item is environmentally impactful. This is the second level of the circular economy model, between the raw materials and manufacturing phases.
James Bell, FIRA’s Sustainability Lead, described the way the organization intends to add to existing research into circular systems.
“Whilst the concept and theory behind the circular economy have been addressed by a number of distinguished organisations and institutions, we feel it is imperative to complement this existing research with a sectoral analysis of the furniture industry’s current and future role in this evolving area,” he said. The survey will officially close on November 1. The organization believes that the majority of products lose their raw materials during the manufacturing process.
Based on this and other projects, companies can look at ways in which to close the circle and make it easier to obtain quality office furniture made from the proper materials.