VepaDrentea, a furniture manufacturer based in Drenthe, the Netherlands has launched a collection of chairs with seat shells made from an innovative renewably-sourced, recyclable biomaterial made of hemp and resin.
The biomaterial was developed by Plantics, the inventor of the world’s first bio-based thermosetting resins, and patented worldwide.
Plantics and VepaDrentea worked together for two years and are now introducing the first product made from the material: a high-quality seat shell.
Called Hemp, the new line of chairs and bar stools is produced entirely in the Netherlands. The different bases are made of PEFC-certified wood or recyclable steel. The chairs are designed for easy disassembly and the materials of both the bases and shells can be reused, recycled or, in the case of the seat shells, composted. As a unique feature, VepaDrentea says that during production, the chairs capture more CO2 than is emitted.
Plantics B.V., founded in 2014, is a spin-off from the University of Amsterdam. The development of the company’s 100% bio-based, circular and CO2 negative thermosets occurred accidentally: two Amsterdam researchers were searching for a biofuel from biological waste material, when one of them created a sticky substance that turned out to be a unique resin.
This resin, together with hemp fibers, formed the basis of a new material that Plantics and VepaDrentea started working on. The furniture manufacturer had been looking for a biomaterial in which both the raw material and the binding agent were organic, vegetable and recyclable for a number of years, for the development of a wholly sustainable product.
“We are extremely proud that we were able to achieve this after two years of research and are the first in the world to do so. An innovation that makes a special contribution to our mission to reduce raw materials scarcity, climate change and CO2 emissions,” said Janwillem de Kam, director of VepaDrentea.
The fibers from the hemp are the raw material of the seat shell. The advantage of hemp is that it grows without fertilizers or pesticides, requires hardly any water and is grown in the Netherlands. In addition, hemp is strong and absorbs CO2. As a result, production of the chair has a negative CO2 footprint.
Plantic’s bioresin is used as a binder. Dr. Wridzer Bakker, CEO Plantics: ‘Existing binders are toxic and non-degradable, and residues remain in the environment for a very long time. To prevent impacting the environment, we have developed a 100% organic thermosetting resin that binds the hemp fibers together. The resin is made from purely vegetable materials – including residual material from sugar beet – and is recyclable.”
Added De Kam, of VapeaDrentea: “While the seat shells are completely biodegradable in nature, we prefer not to break them down. That is a shame and unnecessary. The shell is ground up for re-use in new products, offering the same quality, again and again. We are the only company in the world where this is possible without adding new raw materials.”
The new Hemp collection is not only suitable for the office, but also at home.
“Offices are becoming more and more home-like. The furniture in the office therefore also fits well in your own living room. This also applies to the Hemp collection. We have not only paid attention to sustainability and practicality, but also to design, comfort and affordability,” De Kam concluded.
Source: Bioplastics MAGAZINE, 2020-11-24.