A New Use for an Office Chair

Waste not, want not, as the saying goes. Now, your old office chair can be given a new lease of life thanks to an imaginative student.

Old office chairs are turned into backpacks and bicycle panniers in a new recycling project. Birmingham City University undergraduate Thomas Howell-Jones, has created a product called “Rest”.  It transforms the back rests of unwanted office chairs into waterproof, impact proof bags.

In the UK, over 810,000 office chairs are thrown away each year. They end up filling up landfill sites when they could actually be recycled in other ways.

Howell-Jones has discovered that the hard plastic backs of office chairs are suitable to be reused and turned into protective, impact proof containers. Because they are also waterproof, the back packs and panniers are perfect for cyclists and pedestrians.

He explains:

“Realising that a backpack was possible from office chair waste was the turning point for the project. This allowed me to continue detailed investigation and development showing results seen today.”

Moving forward, Howell-Jones is looking to use other waste materials such as bicycle inner tubes into functional objects.

Rest has already been recognised for its innovation and use. It has won the Stepping Stone award at the RSA Student Designs Award.

Confusion Over Recycling

Finding innovative ways to recycle old products must be welcomed. Recent research has found nationwide confusion as to what products can be recycled. Nine out of ten of us include items in our recycling bins that cannot be recycled.

In a recent survey by Wrap, it was found that 400,000 tonnes of “mixed” recycling ends up in landfill due to contamination by unsuitable items.