Eight ways to sustainability

We really want our furniture to have a minimum impact on the environment. Making things that you want to keep for a lifetime is an efficient start – it’s easily proven that long time of usage is a very important factor in a life cycle analysis of a product. 

Furthermore, there are several ways to optimize the design and production of sustainable furniture. We utilize the eight step eco design strategy wheel as hands on guidance in our decision making. You can learn more about the steps below.

Is it efficient? British design consultancy Dodds&Shute made an analysis of sustainability in the furniture industry in November 2020 where Minus tio performed very well. You can see the top rating of Minus tio if you look at the figure in the bottom of this page. You can also see the ranking of Sweden compared to other countries in the figure.

Read a summary of the survey by Dezeen here.

1. Optimizing function

The products are designed to have an optimal function to ensure years of successful usage. The expression of each product idea is preserved in the process with the goal of creating an emotional bond between the product and the owner. You don’t through what you love.

2. Using the right material for each purpose

Different parts of a piece of furniture have different needs. We always strive to choose the right material for each part considering sustainability, tactile and structural needs. 

Two main cycles for circular flow of material are identified. Biological cycle: biodegradable material that is returned to the ecological cycle. Wood is a typical material in this cycle and we use it in many of our furniture series. Technological cycle: metals and plastics are valuable materials that may be recycled or reused. We use steel in several products where the strength and lightness of the material comes to perfect use.

To maintain the quality of the materials it’s important to avoid mixing in the recycling process and we design all our furniture for easy disassembly if/when it’s time to recycle. 

3. Reducing the amount of material

The design team strives to minimize the material usage by keeping the furniture light and minimal. It’s also important to have the right dimensions for the given loads and to consider packaging volume early in the design process.

4. Optimizing production

Minus tio has always been in the forefront of manufacturing technology, using highly efficient computer controlled machines. At the same time traditional handicraft is employed to produce refined pieces with high finish.

Moreover we try to minimize the number of components in each piece and we work actively with reducing waste and cassation in the manufacturing.

Please visit the manufacturing page to learn more about the production.

5. Optimizing distribution

Minimizing product volume and keeping packaging and distribution in mind during the design process. To have stackable furniture and products that are flat packed. Even if it sounds boring it’s highly efficient to optimize for packaging on standard pallet early in the process.

The furniture is produced by local suppliers in the Southern part of Sweden with locally sourced material whenever possible. This results in efficient logistics and reduced CO2 emissions.

6. Reducing impact during usage

Our furniture is to largest extent possible made in natural materials. When foam is used in upholstered pieces, we carefully chose foam, complying with valid regulations.

7. Optimizing useful life

All Minus tio pieces are designed to be durable and reliable. The items should also be easy to maintain and repair and preferably have a modular product structure where parts can be replaced or updated. A well proportioned and appealing design that stands the test of time may also prolong the useful life. 

The Darling series has a highly modular structure with replaceable and updatable parts, making it easier to fulfill the needs of the user.

8. Optimizing end of life

Even if it should take a long time, sooner or later a Minus tio product reaches it’s en of life. Reuse of components, the possibility to recondition ingoing parts and continue using the product, as well as designing for disassembly are some of the methods used to optimize for end of life.

The Audrey and Jackie stool series is an good example of designing for disassembly. All parts are easily separated into recycle fractions: steel, wood and upholstery. Furthermore, any of these parts may be replaced with reconditioned or new parts during lifetime. Fresh upholstery or new footrests are excellent ways to extend the lifetime of a stool.