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Waste flows from second-hand shops are turned into upcycled furniture

Through this project, the non-profit organisation ONBETAALBAAR vzw aims to transform the waste flows of second-hand shops into usable furniture. With support from OVAM (the Public Waste Agency of Flanders), designs and prototypes will be developed using objects that often end up being discarded by second-hand shops. Based on these designs, ONBETAALBAAR will train the staff at second-hand shops to actively use the waste flows of their organisation. The designs will also be shared with the general public, so that people can draw inspiration from them to give waste a new lease of life. Ateljee vzw, the non-profit organisation that runs several second-hand shops in and around Ghent, has agreed to integrate the findings of this project into its operations. If it proves successful, the project will also be applied to other Flemish second-hand shops.

The designs should be:

  • made up of at least 75% of recycled materials
  • easy to create by the Ateljee staff
  • able to be used extensively without loss of quality

Once the designs have been finalised, prototypes will be developed. This allows the designers to identify any complications that may have been difficult to spot on paper, and to visualise the different steps in the production process. The latter is very important for the next phase of the development process, i.e. the creation of a production plan for each design. This document consists of technical specifications based on the digital design, which details the process from waste to finished furniture. This document includes the bill of materials, which clearly explains which materials are required to create one unit based on the design, and in which quantities.

The prototypes are tested both internally and externally for aesthetic value, durability and comfort. Based on the remarks, those designs, prototypes and plans are adjusted one last time.

The commercialisation focuses on two aspects. On the one hand, targeted communication aimed at second-hand shops, with a proposal to apply the project to their own waste flow. On the other, this project also allows ONBETAALBAAR to produce a series of furnishings (or to have them produced by an external party) so as to participate in more extensive interior design tenders for companies or governments.