Office Furniture Can Go Full Circle

Circular Innovation Profiles is our feature series that showcases innovators and individuals that are helping to accelerate Canada’s circular economy by adopting circular business models and solutions.

The rise of fast furniture mimics that of fast fashion. Products are made quickly, easily, and in bulk. When it becomes damaged it is far easier to replace it than to repair it, and that leads to an incredible amount of waste. Estimates peg the amount of office equipment and furniture going to landfill in North America exceeds 10 million tonnes annually. 
For organizations that need to furnish offices, circular procurement offers a strategic and purposeful  opportunity to reduce carbon footprints, minimize risk, and save on costs in the long- and short-term. By embedding principles that creates circular demand the market will look to capitalize with innovative and responsive circular supply. For office furniture, that’s exactly what Envirotech does. 
Based in Mississauga and serving North America, Envirotech is a manufacturer and dealer of office products that leverages circular business models to engage greater sustainability for customers large and small. 
Utilizing the Product Life Extension model, which extends product lifecycles through repair, upgrade, and resell, Envirotech and its clients conserve natural resources as fewer raw materials are required. Furniture remanufacture and refurbishment prolongs resources already in circulation –including wood, steel, aluminum, plastics, and fibre – and reuses them to their fullest extent. The estimated carbon footprint of an office task chair is 72 kilograms, and the lifespan of a low quality office chair can be as short as six months.

A higher quality chair that can be repaired can remain in use for 15 years or more, which drastically reduces embedded carbon footprints. 

Product as Service is also an innovative approach to asset management, and for Envirotech, Furniture as Service offers businesses and individuals a unique opportunity to maximize their investment both economically and environmentally. 

We’re managing a marketplace for furniture where customers can return used products, and we refurbish so assets can be re-used without ever going to landfill. In 25 years we have remanufactured more than 40,000 workstations/desks and 100,000 chairs, which is more than 11 million kilograms of furniture diverted from landfill.

The real value of Product as Service is that suppliers capitalize on a product’s performance rather than volume of sales, which incentivizes investment in durability and repair rather than obsolescence.
Our task chairs are reupholstered, cleaned, and every mechanism is checked or replaced to ensure the product arrives in like-new condition. Through our unique process, we keep thousands of kilograms from ever going to waste every year, while maximizing our clients’ economic savings with top of the line products from world class manufacturers.

As important and fundamental waste reduction is to circularity, embodied carbon in manufacturing also plays a significant role in measuring carbon footprints. Remanufacture and refurbishment reduces the pollution caused by the manufacturing process, and mitigates release of carbon monoxide and dioxide, sulfur and nitrous oxides, as well as volatile organic compounds. 

Demand for office furniture will continue unabated, whether at home or at the office. Manufacturing from raw materials is energy and resource intensive where more than 80 percent of resources are lost after first use. Linearity – take-make-waste – has long been embedded in the furniture model. By disrupting the industry through circularity, Envirotech is setting its clients for future success. 

Circular Innovation Council has taken a leadership role to engage markets big and small on the benefits of circular procurement. Change and disrupting the old way of doing things, like buying to own and dispose, requires co-ordinated and wide-scale implementation to truly take hold. We are proud to support an organization that is influencing businesses and government to rethink how they purchase goods to incorporate sustainability and circularity.


Andy Delisi, WELL AP
Business Development Manager | Envirotech Office System Inc.



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