Did you know that it’s possible to make sofas from recycled plastic bottles?
We didn’t know either until we talked to Sarah Wietrzychowski from SOFACOMPANY. As Product & Showroom Coordinator for the D.A.CH. region, she gave us some exclusive insights into why the company decided to launch a sustainable product range. Sarah shares how their sustainable textile is produced, and gives tips on how to create a more sustainable living space.
aware_: When did you decide to make a sustainable sofa?
Sarah: We launched the Astha in Cura textile in August 2019 but the decision about moving towards sustainable fabrics and production came up long before then. Especially in the furniture industry and in a trend focussed branch, decisions and actions may go back 1.5 – 2 years. It’s not a decision you can take overnight. Our own journey towards creating our first sustainable sofa can be traced back to summer 2018 when we had a kick-off for sustainable product development at SOFACOMPANY.
aware_: Why is it important for you as a company to develop more sustainable products?
Sarah: Of course, there are endless reasons WHY it’s important for us to develop and offer sustainable products.
First, as a brand and producer of manufactured goods like upholstery, we are taking a big responsibility in a lot of processes that affect our environment – supply chain, logistics, material resources, factory cycle, distribution in international markets etc.
Secondly, customer feedback has shown us that the awareness for sustainable living and production as well as transparency in manufacturing has become more and more significant to our consumers. People are eager to find out more about where their purchased goods come from, which materials they are made of and who has been involved in their fabrication. This is what challenges and motivates us every day to create a more sustainable product – not only for our customers, but for our planet.
Finally, we are of the opinion that it’s also on us to challenge our customers and to give them the option to make more sustainable choices, when it comes to purchasing furniture. Only if we keep questioning each other we will be able to continue this journey towards a more mindful consumer society.
aware_: Can you give us an insight into how the sustainable Cura textile is made?
Sarah: The textile consists of used packaging material such as PET plastic bottles, which would otherwise be incinerated or landfilled. The recycling process results in lower CO2 emissions than the production of polyester fibres, so no new raw materials are needed.
For the manufacturing of this specific textile for one of our ASTHA sofas, there are 165 used plastic bottles needed. The bottles get sorted by quality and colour, and are then cleaned thoroughly. Afterwards the bottles are shredded into plastic chips and melted into a liquid. The liquid is pressed into long and ultra-fine threads, which are woven into a soft and recycled polyester fabric, called Cura.
aware_: Do you have any tips for people who want to create a more sustainable living space?
Sarah: To create more sustainable living spaces everyone should ask themselves: ‘What do I REALLY need?’
The more we own the more things will bother and stress us. Especially our living spaces are personal zones, where we should recharge and disconnect. This is why a sustainable and more minimalist lifestyle can affect our psychological health in a positive manner.
Therefore, my personal aim and tips are to REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE.
aware_: What’s your vision for the future? Will there be more sustainable sofa models? Will you consider other sustainable materials as well?
Sarah: More sustainability is in SOFACOMPANY ́s pipeline. We have just managed to change our entire production to FSC-certified wood in March 2020.
Our sustainable rug called ODA is ready to be launched. The design is cool and colorful – and it is made from super soft polyester – but RECYCLED POLYESTER.
On top of that, we will launch two new recycled textiles and two throw designs as part of our new assortment development:
In the past weeks we have also extended our assortment of products in Cura fabrics. Above that, we are now testing recycled versions of our textiles Velour Lux and Fabio.
We are working steadily towards becoming an even more sustainable company. Over the last months and years we have been: working hand-in-hand with Trees for the Future and Plastic Change.org, using Co2 neutral transport, powering our factory with solar energy, using green energy in all showrooms and offices, boycotting Black Friday and turning it into a Green Friday.
And this is just the beginning of our sustainable journey!
This interview was held with Sarah Wietrzychowski, Product & Showroom Coordinator D.A.CH. for SOFACOMPANY.
SOFACOMPANY will also be participating in our upcoming aware_conference in September 2020, where Tareq Fadai, General Manager D.A.CH., will answer the question whether a consumer goods company can become sustainable.
All images in this article were provided by the SOFACOMPANY.