Orangebox: The Re-made Do Task Chair

28 June, 2023

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Do-Better: Now with significantly less carbon.

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Materials Matter.

The impacts of climate change have clearly accelerated, but so have material advancements.

Developments in the strength and consistency of recycled polymers now allow Orangebox to deliver the same quality and performance with a fraction of the carbon footprint.

Do chair sales account for a large proportion of Orangebox total emissions, so any reduction they make to its footprint will have a huge positive effect, for them, for our customers and for the environment.

Do’s de-carbonisation has focused on three key waste streams to supply the recycled materials they're now using:

Pre-consumer waste
Waste generated from a variety of manufacturing processes – for example, waste fibres and yarns from the production of carpets and vehicle airbags – that can be re-used as feedstock for the creation of new materials.

Post-consumer waste
Waste materials from domestic recycling – for example, packaging used for food or for cleaning products like washing-up liquid or shampoo bottles – that can be recovered and reprocessed.

Landfill waste
Waste materials that were historically deemed economically unviable for recovery but that are now being reprocessed into high-quality materials for reuse; their organic elements isolated and reformulated in combination with recycled polymers. This not only reduces the use of virgin materials, it also avoids the significant methane emissions that would have been generated if the waste had been left in landfill.

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Rethinking how things are made.

UBQTM is a sustainable plastic substitute made entirely from organic and unrecyclable household waste – everything from banana peels and chicken bones to baby diapers and mixed plastics that have not already been captured by traditional recycling methods. UBQ’s patented process converts waste into a climate-positive thermoplastic material that Orangebox can then use in our furniture.

The sole feedstock used in UBQ’s conversion process is household waste, which is largely comprised of organic materials. Metals and minerals, which have high recyclability, are removed, and sent over to traditional recycling streams. All that remains is transformed into UBQTM – so nothing goes to waste. UBQ’s conversion technology breaks down the organic matter into its basic elements; lignin, cellulose, fibres, and sugars. The process then reassembles these elements into a matrix, and any remaining plastic fragments melt and get mixed-in to create a novel thermoplastic material.

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As opposed to conventional chemical recycling systems that utilise high temperatures, UBQ’s process requires significantly lower temperatures and energy. In 2021 solar arrays generated 100% of the energy required to produce the material.

Within Do-Better, orangebox are using UBQ material to reduce the carbon footprint of their seat-pan by replacing the mineral talc that is normally added to the polypropylene, resulting in approximately 80% PP and 20% UBQTM. The PP contains 75% recycled content, of which 90% comes from post-consumer waste.

Every kilogram of UBQTM diverts roughly 1.3kg of waste from landfills or incineration, while also preventing up to 11.7kg of CO2eq (GWP20) into the atmosphere. By using UBQTM within components, Orangebox is helping tackle the waste crisis, preventing greenhouse gas emissions, reducing reliance on fossil fuels, and ultimately contributing to the establishment of a more circular economy.

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