The pressure is on for manufacturers to produce eco-friendly products which won’t harm the environment when consumers are finished with them. We have seen biodegradable clothes, biodegradable fishing nets and single use tents, and now, French design company Alki have just revealed the Kuskoa Bi — the world’s first completely biodegradable chair.
Alki is an eco-conscious design collective committed to producing elegant, comfortable furniture from environmentally friendly raw materials and sources. Their oak wood is sourced from sustainable forests and their coating is made from natural materials. The brief for the Kuskoa Bi chair, designed by Jean Louis Iratzoki, was to create a comfortable, enveloping chair with a semi-concave seat. Instead of turning to plastic — which is traditionally used to make such shapes — Alki opted for the more eco-friendly option: bioplastic.
Plastics require large amounts of fossils fuels in their production and end up as problematic, non-recyclable waste when they are finished with. Bioplastic, on the other hand, is produced from 100 percent vegetable and renewable sources — such as beets, corn starch and sugar cane. The Kuskoa Bi chair is completely recyclable and can be biodegraded through industrial composting.
Experiments in bioplastics have previously had some negative repercussions. Since they are difficult to identify, consumers have often disposed of bioplastics with the rest of their rubbish. This causes disruption in recycling programs, as bioplastics cannot be recycled using the same processes as regular plastics. Perhaps furniture and other semi-permanent products might develop into a more promising area for bioplastics?