Vepa and Plastic Whale launch office furniture range made from Amsterdam canal plastic

“Our mission is to create economic value from plastic waste, involving as many people as possible”, says initiator Marius Smit, founder of Plastic Whale. Together with thousands of Amsterdam residents, Plastic Whale fishes plastic from the canals. The social enterprise has previously built ten designer sloops made from recycled waste, now used for plastic fishing. “With office furniture we can make an even greater impact, as many companies want to make a positive contribution to a cleaner environment.”

Vepa – leader in the field of sustainable innovation – is responsible for the technical development and production of the furniture collection “For the manufacturing of the furniture, we use PET bottles that have been fished out of Amsterdam’s canals. We are also using steel waste from our own factory for the cast-iron base of the chair,” says Janwillem de Kam, Vepa’s Managing Director. “We are rapidly becoming a waste-free factory and even process the waste of others in this collection as well. To ensure sustainability, we maintain full control over the production and consciously keep it within the Netherlands, which is quite unique. Moreover, our deposit-return scheme will ensure that no new waste is created: At the end of a product’s life cycle we will collect it from the consumer, who will then receive a refund of the product’s surcharge. We will then disassemble the furniture so that individual parts can be reused or recycled.”

The whale as inspiration

LAMA Concept from Amsterdam is responsible for the design side of the collection, for which circularity is key and the whale has served as a source of inspiration. Yvonne Laurysen, co-owner of LAMA Concept explains: “Plastic soup is a huge threat for this incredible mammal, and so we have translated characteristic elements of the whale into the designs. Think, for example, of the look and feel of its skin, the adipose tissue and the impressive skeleton.”

Turning waste into impact

Part of the proceeds from Plastic Whale Circular Furniture will be invested in local projects that tackle the plastic problem in places where it’s needed the most. A first collaboration has been entered into with SweepSmart, an organization that offers professional waste solutions in India, where the plastic problem is enormous. “Thanks to Plastic Whale Circular Furniture, it will be possible for SweepSmart to develop waste-processing centers in India, and subsequently reuse the collected plastic for the next furniture line,” says Marius Smit, founder of Plastic Whale.

Join the mission

Plastic Whale Circular Furniture can be ordered via exclusive Plastic Whale Circular Furniture dealers in The Netherlands. “The furniture is ideal for every company that wants to realize its sustainability goals. Purchasing it helps us tackle the plastic soup problem on a large scale and stimulate the local economy. Moreover, partners benefit from beautiful, state-of-the-art furniture in return – an item that is a real conversation starter. Together we can make an impact worldwide,” Smit concludes.

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