Press release 2018-09-03

Office recycling can save 43,000 tonnes greenhouse gas emissions

A collaboration between IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, architects, construction companies and manufacturers shows that when renovating office space purchasing used instead of new can reduce climate emissions by at least 30 per cent and costs by close to 60 per cent. On the national level, recycling could reduce climate emissions by 43,000 tonnes each year.

– This is an area where it really is possible to save – both in monetary terms and when it comes to waste management and climate impact. Every year, billions are invested in office spaces and the turnover of furnishings, and the wastage here is huge, says Åsa Stenmarck, waste expert at IVL.

A project targeting the potential of recycling solutions in Swedish offices has evaluated the effect of reusing building materials and office furniture instead of buying new when renovating offices or building new ones.

Eight common furniture and construction products were included in the study: office chairs, visitor chairs, ergonomic height adjustable desks, planting vessels, glass panels, interior doors, ceiling tiles and textile floorboards.

The result shows that in Sweden it is possible to save SEK 1.3 billion each year, reduce waste by 25 000 tonnes and reduce CO2 emissions by 43 000 tonnes recycling these products.

– This also holds true when we calculate the costs and emissions from transport and reconditioning, e.g., replacing desk tops and refurbishing chairs, says Åsa Stenmarck.

What does it pay most to recycle?

– If we weigh together all three ways of saving, the most important thing is to reuse glass panels, height-adjustable desks and office chairs, says Åsa Stenmarck.

Read the report: Potential och lösningar för återbruk på svenska kontor
(in Swedish but with an English summary).

For more information, please contact:
Åsa Stenmarck, asa.stenmarck@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 65 66
Carina Loh Lindholm, carina.loh.lindholm@ivl.se, +46 (0)10-788 69 21

The project was funded by Vinnova and ran from October 2017 to August 2018. Akademiska Hus, Albin in Hyssna, Interface Sverige, IVL Swedish Environmental Research Institute, Kompanjonen, Link arkitektur, Moelven Modus AB, NGD Nordic Green Design, Ogeborg Golvagentur, Saint-Gobain Ecophon AB, Temagruppen Sverige AB, Vasakronan and Vican.