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The unusual materials used in ecological furniture

Her goal has been to reduce the use of polyurethane-based plastic polymers in furniture manufacturing. This means looking for a more eco-friendly material to fill pillows, sofas, and chair cushions.

To begin, the creator of Agoprene in Oslo and her colleagues experimented with oyster shells. The shells were pulverized into powder and utilized to create a frothy substance. Agricultural waste and wood fibers were also tested in this manner.

“We tried a bunch of different materials, but most of them turned out as rigid foam, not flexible,” she said.

Ms Sandberg eventually discovered seaweed, which her team ground into a powder and baked in a special oven.

The procedure results in a foam block that is soft enough to be utilized in seat cushions and chairs.

“The foam is completely biodegradable.” “You can simply leave it in the soil and it will degrade naturally over eight months – faster if you cut it into smaller pieces,” Ms Sandberg explains.

In the following year, Agoprene plans to expand output by moving to a larger manufacturing site.

Agoprene’s foam baking in an oven
Can such innovation lead to a shift away from plastic, which is widely utilized in the furniture industry?

In addition to polyurethane, which offers cushioning, the outside of soft furnishings may contain polyester, which is also a member of the plastic family.

Vinyl blends may be used in faux leather furniture, and vinyl is a suitable shorthand for a class of plastics. Meanwhile, less expensive wood furniture is frequently only a wood veneer adhered to plastic.

Industrially made wood furniture is frequently coated in a chemical mixture that may include polymers. This is what gives the wood its shiny, plastic-like look.


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