According to Martela Design philosophy a product must stand the test of time both visually and by its technically aspects. New Martela products are tested during R&D phase according to European standards to verify that they will endure use in a professional environment. However, currently changes in working environments are so quick that even the best intentions and inspiration does not ensure that the product at hand is useful for the entire period of time it could technically endure.
For a good quality product we can find new users as is; Just cleaning a table or cabinet and get a word out that such a product is idle and waiting for another user - it is just a matter of logistics. But nowadays also a matter of space and especially of changing needs. The change to a paperless office is materializing both due to the new data storage capabilities but also due to the change in office environments. As the knowledge workers work more efficiently, changing working spaces according the task at hand, not wanting to carry piles of printed documents around, there is no longer need for cabinet space to store printed things like there was just a few years ago.
So what shall we do with the old cabinets? Some are old fashioned with all that beach veneer that was so fashionable just some years back. Some of them too high or too low to fit the new interior design. Even if they are still in a good condition when the first owner no longer needs them, it is often best to recycle them as energy. After all, they consist almost totally of renewable energy. In high volumes even particle board could be recycled as material, but with current volumes the more cost efficient way to reuse old, used cabinets is by using their energy content. Products made out of particle board must be stored in ambient circumstances. So we always have to consider the market need and based on that decide if it is worth using the space to store them for the possible future use.
Office chairs are usually in heavy use and seldom vacuum cleaned during the use. Even if we know that the dust and grind we carry with our clothes from outside will deteriorate the upholstery before its time. And it does. At Martela we can reupholster old chairs to make them look like new again - were they worn out or upholstered with old fashioned fabric or chosen according to outdated brand image to fit the interior. But sometimes there is also a need for change of gas spring or some part of the mechanism. And somewhere on the line there is a point where it will cost more to maintain old one than to build a brand new one. As long as metal components can be melted to material for new metal parts while other parts can be used as energy, and both are correctly separated - we are still recycling responsibly and in the best interest to ourselves, too.
In the end, the best we all can do is to take care of things we use and to allow them to be useful for us as long as possible. When time comes that we no longer can benefit for their use, try to find someone else who can. And to understand when it is time to take the product apart and use the material for other useful purposes or use the embedded energy sustainably.
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