Innovation That Matters

As the leaves collected change colour across the seasons, the products will also look different | Photo source Studio Yumakano

New material made from worthless waste wood 

Architecture & Design

Pieces are made from organic scraps that include leaves, seeds, and production waste

Spotted: The global eco-friendly furniture market is estimated to be worth around $43.3 billion (around €40.6 billion) and is projected to continue increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.6 per cent from 2022 to 2030. As well as developing new carbon neutral materials, designers are also making better use of waste products to create useful and attractive products.

Rather than cut down a mature tree for material for instance, Japanese Studio Yumakano has created a wood-like material called ForestBank from organic scraps. Using a mix of items usually found on the forest floor, such as weeds, small trees, leaves, and seeds, the new material works just like wood. It can be used everywhere that wood is usually used, and it is shaped with regular woodworking methods.

Scraps from industrial paper and other tree-based production processes can also be used to create the new material. ForestBank pieces require no solvents or volatile organic compounds, and the scraps are held together with a mineral and water-based acrylic resin. The process is ideal for municipality use, as small studios could provide a public service by turning organic waste collected by the city into new materials and products.

Additionally, the circularity of the process is strengthened by hyperlocal collaborations, making it easier to create end-of-life recycling processes, along with limited edition pieces specific to the area based on what grows there. The appearance of each piece comes directly from the natural colours of the plants used, with single pieces of leaves, roots, and woodcuts visible. The design team has also experimented with different coloured soils as a means of expanding the product line’s colour range.

Making waste products beautiful and usable is something Springwise spots frequently, with projects increasingly becoming larger and more commercially viable. A new homewares line turns used chopsticks into beautiful pieces of wooden furniture, and a 3D-printed home uses local wood waste as the main building material.

Written By: Keely Khoury



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