Recycling and upcycling: making something new with something old
Here and elsewhere in the furniture industry, we are witness to a revolution in the ways of thinking and doing things. We give furniture a second life. Whether for ethical, ecological or investment reasons, a host of reasons can explain the boom in upcycling and recycling of materials.
Whether to give new value to dated furniture or to recycle materials and components, current trends are in keeping with the times. Quebec is rising to the challenge of manufacturing ethical and ecoresponsible furniture. Local manufacturers and artisans demonstrate their creative spirit and craftsmanship through a multitude of designs. We revisit or reinvent the past with this new furniture.
Upcycling: recycling version 2.0
Have you heard of upcycling? It’s the process of recuperating used materials, such as furniture, to give them a new life. So, we recycle “from the top”, cutting down on the energy consumption otherwise necessary for processing materials during recycling. Indeed, recycling requires significant energy to transform the recycled material into another object. In the case of upcycling, unused objects are turned into a product of superior quality or utility. We invest in the nobility and durability that characterizes Quebec furniture so well. We refurbish old furniture, restore it, revalue it to our tastes, to get a small piece of history with an updated look. An eco-friendly solution that allows for infinite customization and charm. By giving it a little love, we transform this furniture into unique pieces that can be enjoyed for even longer!
Why consume new things that mimic old ones when you can have an original that is in good condition and fits current trends? It’s not surprising that so many consumers have the tendency to turn to Quebec furniture given its durability, strength and the quality of its design and materials. However, after a while, it may not reflect current trends, or it simply does not satisfy our tastes despite the excellent condition it maintains over time. When we choose to dispose of it, it may still become another’s treasure! Some companies are happy to restore and revalue furniture that has been discarded, making it trendy with current materials and techniques. This is a great way for consumers to buy unique and authentic Quebec furniture!
Materials recycled into treasures
Canada holds the unenviable title of largest waste producer per capita among the OECD countries, with the equivalent of nearly one ton produced per capita (2014 statistics). Furthermore, in Quebec, 13 million tons of waste are produced every year, equal to a 25-ton dump truck per minute. Can you imagine the amount of abandoned material that could be recovered? Fortunately, some companies offer new furniture made in whole or in part from recovered and recycled materials. For example, Forge Design, Signature SGL and La Vieille Planche manufacture some or all of their furniture with recovered or recycled wood. This process of recycling local materials is both sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Others, such as Re-Plast, design street furniture made from 100% recycled post-consumer and post-industrial plastics using environmentally friendly manufacturing processes and methods.
Kübbii produces solid and light cardboard modules that are not only made from recycled materials, but are in themselves fully recyclable. Furthermore, all stages of their manufacturing involve ecoresponsible considerations. It’s hard not to be enthusiastic about the concept when you know that every ton of recycled paper saves 2 tons of wood!
Companies involved in saving, preserving and showcasing Quebec furniture include Aube Créations, Rien ne se perd, Les Affûtés, Futur Antérieur, the blog De la ruelle au salon, Réserve Cachée, Du Design du Rétro et du Kitsch, Kitsch à l’Os and Les Années Vintage.
And for those who want to become style bargain hunters for a day, a multitude of antique dealers, flea markets, Kijiji classifieds ads and other Ali-Baba caves can be scoured in search of local treasures. These include Déjà Vu, La Mansarde Bleue and ReStore. The furniture of your dreams can often be closer than you think! Don’t hesitate to call on your social networks. The July moving period is often conducive to beautiful finds.
Recycled and upcycled furniture can be found everywhere thanks to its popularity. From online shops and furniture stores to flea markets, you can find tables, beds, sofas and homemade decorations in all price ranges and decorate your home with items that not only have a story to tell, but also help the planet.