Our Sustainability Initiatives.
At DesignByThem we embed sustainable initiatives into our design process and are committed to reducing the impact of our products on the environment and society. We aim to do this in meaningful ways through comprehensive product life cycle thinking that validates our assumptions and are constantly seeking to improve our environmental initiatives in the following ways:
Although it can’t be quantified, we try to design our products to have a timeless quality and strive for aesthetic longevity. The only test of a timeless design is time itself. As our company matures beyond 15 years we are seeing many products designed 10+ years ago remain current and popular items in our range.
Life Cycle Planning and Assessment
When designing our products we consider all of the environmental impacts throughout the product life cycle. This includes not only the materials, finishing, packaging, transport and waste of the products but also the serviceability of the products and how they can be repaired, reused and recycled at the end of their life.
When we develop our furniture, we design for high use commercial environments and aim to use materials that will last. We offer a minimum of 5 years commercial warranty on all of our furniture and 3 years on our accessories but of course, the products are designed to last longer than this.
The life cycle impact of a product is a balancing act between durability and materiality and we use a MIPS approach (Material impact per unit of service) in order to determine the benefits of using certain materials and processes over another.
It is for this reason that all of our outdoor furniture uses either stainless steel or, aluminium or zinc plated steel to not only increase durability but also to allow it to be recoated and reused at the end of its service life rather than being recycled or thrown away. This saves the owner from having to purchase new furniture and reduces the need for other resources required to supersede them.
Product Stewardship - Repair, Reuse or Return
All of our products can be collected by DesignByThem at a negotiated transport fee for product repair, reuse or recycling as part of our product stewardship program. Many of our products are designed to be repaired to prolong their life and avoid recycling and landfill. We endeavour to use materials that can be refinished easily (such as re-powder coating our metal products, resanding and finish our timber products and cleaning or reupholstering our lounges and armchairs.) With this in mind, many of our products are designed for disassembly as this not only makes them easier to repair, but it also allows unlike materials to be easily separated and recycled at the end of a product’s life and thus reduces the amount of material in landfill.
Using Sustainable Materials
We are committed to using post-consumer recycled plastics wherever possible and seek to remove the use of virgin plastics from our products. We currently have two ranges using post-consumer recycled plastic and two types of post-consumer plastic.
100% HDPE Post Consumer - Australian Made
This is the speckled material you see in the Confetti range and we also use a similar material for the internal structure in our upholstered seat pads. This is made using post-consumer waste sourced from Australia. This is either rotationally moulded or made from cast sheet material.
100% HDPE Post Consumer - Made Overseas
The Butter range uses 100% post-consumer recycled plastic. This has a uniform colour which is achieved by dying white post-consumer recycled plastic (mainly derived from water bottles and shampoo bottles (HDPE)). This material is transported in sheets, flat-pack from our supplier to reduce its freight footprint and assembled in our Sydney workshop. The matte texture on this product also promotes longevity as it is highly durable.
We always aim to use FSC certified timbers in our standard products and finishes where available. This includes solid timbers (mainly Ash and Oak timbers) as well as our FSC timber veneers.
We prefer recycled metals where possible and use stainless steel and aluminium for most of our outdoor products as they are more durable and allow them to be recoated and reused at the end of their serviceable life.
We use sustainably sourced E0 MDF and E0 vertiboard for our tabletops and high-pressure compact laminate for tabletops where durability is required.
We use sustainably sourced FSC plywood and E0 MDF in combination with integrated metal frames to add further strength. We use recycled plastic for seat pads and are introducing more post-consumer recycled plastic structures to the internals of our lounges to improve environmental performance.
We use low VOC finishes wherever possible and specify finishes from reputable suppliers that have targets in place to reduce the impact of their production processes. We use powder coating, for example, instead of wet spraying on all of our metal products and water-based polyurethane to seal our timbers wherever possible.
We only use commercial grade, flame resistant foams that are low VOC, warranted for commercial use and have sustainable certifications such as GECA.
We have partnered with Kvadrat Maharam for our house fabric ranges and as our preferred COM suppliers. They are two of the leading textile manufacturers and have strong environmental initiatives in place. Our house ranges offer synthetic fabrics that have post-consumer recycled content and a range of certifications.
We also offer Green Star rated leathers as part of our house range.
At DesignByThem we practice a fit-for-purpose design philosophy whereby the packaging is designed in the most efficient manner whilst ensuring the items arrive without damage. Depending on the order, we often pack items in crates. Our plywood crates are custom cut with our in-house CNC machine to ensure orders are packed securely without any wasted space. This also allows us to avoid extra transportation from outsourcing bulky crate material.
Waste reduction & Recycling & Reuse
Our carton packages are made from recyclable and uncoated kraft corrugated cardboard. We currently shred any cardboard where possible into netting material that is reused for filling carton voids with the aim of reducing the use of foam or virgin materials. All other cardboard packaging is recycled if it can not be reused.