From Home Furnishing Business
Herman Miller Updates Aeron Chairs Incorporating Ocean-bound Plastic
Herman Miller (NASDAQ;MLHR) has announced that its entire portfolio of Aeron Chairs will contain ocean-bound plastic, including a new color, Onyx Ultra Matte, which contains up to 2.5 pounds (1.13 kg) of mismanaged plastic waste found near waterways per chair.
These material changes in the Aeron Portfolio are projected to save the ocean from over 150 tons of plastic annually—equal to approximately 15 million single-use plastic water bottles.
The updates are part of Herman Miller's membership in NextWave Plastic, its ongoing commitment to sustainability, and long-term goal to increase recycled content to at least 50% including the use of ocean-bound plastic across all material the company uses by 2030.
Aeron is the latest in a growing list of products Herman Miller has reengineered using ocean-bound plastic. The effort also includes parts of the recently launched OE1 Workplace Collection, the Sayl Chair in Europe, utility trays as part of pedestal units, and its latest textile collection, Revenio, which is made of 100 percent recycled materials and includes a biodegradable polyester. The company is also reducing its footprint by adding ocean-bound plastic to returnable shipping crates that send seating parts to and from suppliers and poly bags used to keep products safe during transit.
"Every year, an estimated eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean. This is roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into the ocean every minute," said Gabe Wing, director of sustainability, Herman Miller. "We joined NextWave to play an active role in taking on the ocean plastic problem and cast a wide net for opportunities to incorporate ocean-bound plastic across our global operations. We're proud of the progress we've already made with packaging and textiles and are eager to continue doing our part in preventing harmful plastic from reaching our oceans by adding it to the iconic Aeron Chair."
By integrating ocean-bound plastic into all these products and packaging solutions, Herman Miller estimates it will divert up to 234 metric tons of plastic from the ocean annually, equal to preventing close to 400,000 milk jugs or up to 23 million plastic bottles from entering the ocean annually.
Ocean-bound plastic is plastic material that has not yet found its way into the ocean and is classified as "mismanaged waste." This is plastic that is not being collected, is unlikely to be collected, and is found within 50 kilometers of a coastline. Common examples of ocean-bound plastic include plastic bottles, jugs, caps, and fishing gear.
When plastic waste builds up in coastal cities, suppliers work with local pickers to collect the plastic. Once collected, the material is ground, washed, and pelletized. From there, it is sold to manufacturers who test and re-engineer the plastic to incorporate into products.
"On our current trajectory we are at risk of tripling the rate of new plastic entering the ocean every year. A critical strategy to disrupt that path is to demonstrate the value of ocean-bound plastic. In bringing the Aeron Chair made with ocean-bound plastic to market, Herman Miller is not only proving the commercial value of the material, but showcasing the power of collective action in developing ocean-bound plastic supply chains," said Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale. "Herman Miller, and all members of the NextWave Plastics consortium, are taking the necessary action - today - to make a positive impact for the ocean and for us all."