As part of Herman Miller’s membership in NextWave Plastics, the company has announced that its portfolio of Aeron chairs will be made with ocean-bound plastic. NextWave Plastics, is the company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and long-term goal to increase the use of recycled content to at least 50% by 2030. The line will include a new colour, Onyx Ultra Matte, which contains up to 2.5 pounds of plastic waste found near waterways.
Thanks to these changes, it is estimated to prevent more than 150 tonnes of plastic from being released into the ocean each year, equal to approximately 15 million single-use plastic water bottles, the company claims.
Herman Miller has already re-engineered several of its products using ocean-bound plastic, such as parts of the OE1 Workplace collection, the Sayl chair in Europe, and its Revenio textile collection, which is made of 100% recycled materials and includes a biodegradable polyester. Additionally, the company is using ocean-bound plastic to returnable shipping crates and bags used to keep products safe during transit. All chairs in the Aeron Portfolio are up to 90% recyclable and composed of over 50% recycled content.
“We joined NextWave to play an active role in taking on the ocean plastic problem and cast a wide net for opportunities to incorporate ocean across our global operations,” said Gabe Wing, Herman Miller’s Director of Sustainability. “We’re proud of the progress we’ve already made with packaging and textiles, and are eager to continue doing our part in preventing harmful plastic from reaching our oceans by adding it to the iconic Aeron chair.”
The material used in the Aeron collection is obtained from India and Indonesia, as many of the coastal cities in the countries lack the infrastructure to manage plastic waste. Waste pickers collect the plastic waste and take it to collection sites, where they are paid for the materials they have gathered. The sites separate and pack the materials, mostly HDPE and PET, and sold to processors who clean and convert the material into usable resins.
Herman Miller uses nylon fishing gear from cities in India for the chair’s back frame and water bottles from cities in Indonesia for the tilt covers. “We’re doing more than making an environmental impact,” said Bob Teasley, Director of Supply Management at Herman Miller. “By working with coastal communities around the world to harvest ocean-bound plastic, we’re increasing demand, creating jobs, and boosting economies.”