Furniture Designed to Last: Promoting Sustainability with High-Quality Furnishings

Furniture Designed to Last: Promoting Sustainability with High-Quality Furnishings

In recent years, there has been a growing emphasis on the environmental problem of “fast furniture,” which refers to the disposable nature of many modern furniture products. “Fast furniture” is a fairly new term, describing the inexpensive, trendy furniture pieces that are often mass-produced with low-quality materials and designed for short-term use. The problems with fast furniture are expansive, but predominantly revolves around the fact that low-quality furniture products are quick to break and treated as disposable, contributing to increased waste generation and resource depletion. Instead of furniture designed to last.

A 2018 EPA report revealed that U.S. furniture waste generation has reached over 12 million tons per year––over 4 percent of the national municipal solid waste total. This report also found that nearly 20 percent of furniture waste in 2018 was combusted for energy recovery, but the majority of furniture waste is sent to landfill (80.1 percent). While these figures include home furnishings as well as commercial or B2B furniture, the solution is clear: developing high-quality, environmentally-friendly products is key to improving the sustainability of the furniture industry.

As awareness of environmental issues grows, so does the demand for sustainable alternatives. At MiEN Company, we care deeply about our environmental impact, so we design our furniture products with sustainability and longevity in mind. In order to remain committed to our sustainable goals, here are three main areas we focus on in the development of our furniture products:

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Idea Starter 229 Collaborative Classroom Desk Layout
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Quality and Durability

Sustainability begins during the design and manufacturing process, so we prioritize quality in the development and construction of our furnishings. To reduce our environmental impact, we utilize materials that are readily available and durable. Our high-quality products are designed to last, which benefits both our customers and the environment.

At MiEN, we design and source our products responsibly, focusing on the environmental and health impacts of the materials we choose. Because our furniture is primarily used in classrooms and office spaces––where users spend up to a third of their time––we know how important it is for our products to be safe, yet durable.

We’re dedicated to creating furnishings that are engineered to endure the test of time, as frequent replacements result in an increased financial and administrative burden on schools and districts. Our products are designed to withstand long-term use, in terms of both their durability and their ability to be repeatedly cleaned. Furthermore, some of our furniture components, such as worn seat pads, can be removed, and replaced to extend the life of the product.

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Innovative Design

To ensure our furnishings remain functional in a variety of spaces for their full lifespan, we put a strong emphasis on innovative design and versatility. While our furniture is capable of meeting the current educational and office space trends, it is also timeless, adapting easily to the evolving needs of any space.

Designing for reuse and reconfiguration is essential to combat the problem of fast furniture, producing innovative furniture that can be repurposed in a variety of environments. Many MiEN products are modular or component-based, which enables users to modify furnishings to evolve with changing spaces. They are also designed to be useful in a wide range of spaces, with the option to order many MiEN products with casters for portability or adjustable components for expanded functionality.

We also recognize the need for visual-appeal when selecting furnishings for your educational or office spaces. Our products come in a wide range of colors, fabrics, and surface materials to fit the style and theme of your spaces. Neutral designs stay in style no matter how your space changes, while more vibrant designs can provide visual interest or a pop of color in your space for many years to come.

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In addition to durability and design, we’re committed to minimizing our environmental impact throughout the entire lifecycle of our products. Many of the materials used to manufacture MiEN products are easily recyclable, including steel, aluminum, and polypropylene. Furthermore, our products are shipped and delivered in recyclable cardboard cartons, keeping packaging waste out of landfills.

If you choose not to reuse or reconfigure your MiEN furniture when your educational or office space needs change, our durable products can easily be repurposed by donating to other organizations in need. Because our high-quality furnishings are designed to last, rehoming them ensures they are used to their full potential, keeping valuable resources out of landfills.

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Furniture Designed to Last

At MiEN, we are always assessing and improving our sustainability practices to ensure we are consistently providing customers with high-quality and eco-friendly products. By educating our customers on the environmental impacts of fast furniture and offering a more sustainable alternative, we aim to set a positive example in the industry and empower schools and businesses to embrace sustainability as a core value. Investing in durable, long-lasting furniture solutions enables organizations to reduce their environmental impact, saving resources and keeping products out of landfills.

Dr. Christina CountsDr. Christina Counts, ALEP, VP of Education for MiEN Environments, is a proven leader with a successful background in transforming learning spaces into modern engaging learning environments. Dr. Counts has worked in education for over 17 years with experience as a classroom teacher, district instructional leader, school administrator, and digital and innovative learning designer. In her most recent position, Christina leads a team of professionals that support schools making the transition to a flexible, collaborative, & student-centered learning space.  She holds a doctorate in K-12 Educational Leadership, National Board-certified, and Google & Apple certified. Dr. Counts envisions a learning space in which educators are empowered to transform education through design, technology and innovative instructional pedagogy to create learners ready for any future!