'Raw material shortage is one of the reason for the transition to a circular economy'

'Raw material shortage is one of the reason for the transition to a circular economy'


The shortage of raw materials is one of the incentives for the transition towards a circular economy. It is for this reason that our industrial designers are making smart choices when it comes to the selection of materials. Some materials guarantee a longer product lifespan, while others are easier to reuse. The various materials that we use in order keep our products in the circular system (for as long as possible) are set out below.

Basic structure

Our frames and substructures are made of steel. Steel is an excellent material; it is highly flexible, lasts long and lends itself well to recycling.

The professional’s thoughts

Gispen is in a transition. REUSE > LOSS PREVENTION > LESS WASTE PRODUCTION > Key words when we speak of a circular economy. I believe in these circular principles. I am convinced that well-designed pieces of furniture, both new and used, are the starting point for a sustainable interior. We aim to prolong the lifecycle of products and we firmly believe that we need to take responsibility, based on well-considered agreements and the right incentive to close material loops. There is much to be gained!

Rick Veenendaal Manager circular economy

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People have all kinds of requirements when it comes to desktops. Some need more rigidity, others want a different look. But when we follow the principles of the circular economy, priority will always be given to a lightweight structure. Additionally, we tend to choose materials that do not include formaldehyde in glue applications (formaldehyde poses a danger to human health).


Does your preference go to rapidly renewable materials and a high screw-holding capacity? We manufacture tabletops out of woodchips, roadside-grass and agricultural surpluses. The panels are 18 mm thick, free of formaldehyde and feature a thin toplayer finish of melamine, suitable for the office environment. When the product reaches the end of its lifecycle, the materials are returned to the manufacturer to be fully recycled.


Should the tabletop be able to withstand continuous height adjustments, tilting and/or moving around the office? Or are thicker panels required? We would then utilise a lightweight, fast-growing and locally sourced wood. Poplar plywood, for example. These sheets are 30 to 40 mm thick and contain low levels of formaldehyde (only that which is originally present) and feature a toplayer finish of FSC certified HPL.


Does the application of only a single material appeal to you? Would you like a workstation that is painted completely in one colour? In that case we will simply add a steel tabletop. Disassembly is not even required when the product is at the end of its lifecycle, it can be recycled as is.

Structure-strengthening materials

- replacing environmentally-hazardous chrome with polished aluminium

- replacing plastics with bioplastics

- improved structure makes plastic obsolete

Internals, acoustics, decoration and padding

We apply bio-based padding materials to the internals of sofas, dividing screens and cabinets. Bio-based resources are rapidly renewable and are sourced locally when possible.

Gispen uses, for example:

- Upholstery of Ecoflower fabric

- Sheep wool from the Dutch Island of Texel as acoustic padding and improved air-quality

- Recycled cotton as acoustic padding (alternative for wool)

- Coconut as a replacement for polyether foam (still in development)

- Recycled Auping mattresses as foam for our sofas (still in development)


We use as little glue as possible in the assembly of components. After all, the objective is modularity, building separate modules. When we do need to apply glue to uphold the quality or lifespan of a product, we use eco glue, which is made from natural materials. Petroleum-based adhesives are avoided as much as possible.


We use a powder-coat that can be applied under lower temperatures. This presents a major environmental gain because we need far less energy to get the powder coating ovens up to temperature. The excess paint is collected, returned and recycled. Together with our paint supplier, we are currently working on an even more sustainable powder-coat, in which more and more petroleum-based substances are replaced with bio-based alternatives.

Processing of residual materials

We work together with experts to make sure that residual materials are properly handled when components cease to be of use to us. Steel is sent back for recycling and the excess powder from the paint department is returned to the supplier for processing into new paint. Offering pure residual materials could be the start of a completely new chain. Therefore, we always keep looking for partners who can use our residual materials.

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