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Sustainable and fun

This article first appeared in our ‘Love is all we need’ issue of My Green Pod Magazine, published on 14 February 2022. Click here to subscribe to our digital edition and get each issue delivered straight to your inbox

When we relocated to Yorkshire during the pandemic, we had to make sure that our new office would be furnished in a way that reflected our own principles.

We found a fantastic old barn with stunning exposed beams – but it hadn’t been decorated for over 15 years.

Supported by grant funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership and with the assistance of long-time supporter and friend Oliver Heath – the UK’s leading biophilic design expert – we began the exciting process of creating our new workspace.

Location, location, location

The office is based on the grounds of a beautiful country Estate on the edge of the sweeping Yorkshire Dales.

With Oliver’s help we wanted to introduce some biophilic design elements that would help balance the contrast between the exterior and interior – but most importantly, the furnishings had to meet our own ethical standards.

We reused mainstream office furniture and added stylish design enhancements using circular furniture – made from paperboard – from The Apple Tree Company.

The result is a functional and fun workplace that fits beautifully with the surrounding countryside (and us).

Making a statement

Choosing furniture made from engineered paperboard was a natural choice, and we discovered The Apple Tree Company’s principles fit perfectly with our own.

‘I was delighted with how The Apple Tree Company’s products fitted into the My Green Pod designs’, Oliver said, ‘in terms of both their environmental credentials and the aesthetics. They add a sense of fun and a crispness to the scheme.’

We were really excited to incorporate statement pieces, such as the Åkerö tree and the Enterprise coffee table, within the overall office layout.

Ultimately, the furniture had to be functional; thankfully the storage units, coffee table and bins look great, too, which really underscores the versatility of the engineered paperboard. The material’s strength and functionality was made really clear to me by the Hukuto storage units.

Robust and sustainable

Engineered paperboard is strong, durable and, importantly, sustainable. It’s not cardboard or carton board – the material’s patented core is a high-density paper fibre structure tilted to 15 degrees.

The closed-cell technique gives a perfectly balanced weight-strength ratio that helps position paper as a highly viable alternative for furniture design – with many other benefits, too.

Engineered paperboard is completely circular. Unlike the ‘take, make, consume and dispose’ model of traditional linear economies, a circular system thrives on the motto ‘reuse and recycle’.

Furniture made from paperboard is strong and durable to maximise its use and, when redundant, it is easy to recycle.

A spill-proof finish

The pulp and paper industry has been implementing a circular approach for many years. Unlike many alternative materials, there is no difficulty in finding a recycling route.

All Apple Tree Company furniture includes a guarantee for strength and structural integrity.

The inclusion of a protective layer also means that the surface is water repellent and can be wiped clean from the occasional spill – even coffee or red wine!

This makes it perfect for an office environment – especially ours, where coffee is a must and products ranging from moisturisers to multi-purpose sprays – are tested daily.

Recycled and FSC certified

While the paperboard can withstand irregular contact with water, optional unobtrusive ‘polka dot’ feet – made from bioplastic created from corn starch – are available to raise the product to avoid contact during floor cleaning.

Being at least 70% lighter than MDF or MFC, the board also offers environmental savings on transportation.

The Apple Tree Company furniture is available with four different finishes with varying recycled content (the black option is 100% recycled).

All types are manufactured using materials certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

No harmful chemicals

In addition to environmental considerations, engineered paperboard contains no harmful chemicals or VOCs and furniture is manufactured using water-based adhesives.

We love the way the furniture looks and feels in the office and will certainly be coming back for more as we expand!

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The Åkerö Tree, made from recycled and recyclable materials, would make a beautiful centrepiece for any room – at home or in the office. The statement piece is available in various sizes and is easy to move around.

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