Home furnishings design company Herman Miller’s entire portfolio of Aeron chairs is now being made with ocean-bound plastic, and the company is adding a new color, Onyx Ultra Matte, to its Aeron chair collection. The new chairs contain up to 2.5 pounds of plastic waste found near waterways and are designed to prevent 150 tons of plastic from reaching the ocean annually, which the company said is equal to approximately 15 million single-use plastic water bottles.
The updates are part of Herman Miller’s membership in NextWave Plastics, an industry-led, open-source collaboration among consumer brands to keep plastic in the economy and out of the ocean.
“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,” said Gabe Wing, Herman Miller’s director of sustainability. “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.” The company has a long-term goal to increase recycled content to at least 50% including the use of ocean-bound plastic across all materials that the company uses by 2030.
Aeron is the latest in a growing list of products Herman Miller has re-engineered using ocean-bound plastic. The effort also includes the Sayl Chair in Europe, utility trays as part of pedestal units and its latest textile collection, Revenio, which is made of 100% 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.
Ocean-bound plastic is plastic material that has not yet found its way into the ocean and is classified as “mismanaged waste,” according to Wing.
“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, a foundation dedicated to bringing people closer to the world’s oceans through education and awareness.
The plastic used in Aeron is currently sourced from India and Indonesia, which are two of many locations where Herman Miller and other NextWave member companies are creating demand and establishing a supply chain for this material.
“We’re doing more than making an environmental impact,” said Bob Teasley, Herman Miller director of supply management. “By working with coastal communities around the world to harvest ocean-bound plastic, we’re increasing demand, creating jobs, and boosting economies.”
Designed by Bill Stumpf and Don Chadwick in 1994 and remastered in 2016, the Aeron Chair is Herman Miller’s top-selling seating solution and has received a variety of awards and recognition. The chair is available in four colorways: Onyx Ultra Matte, Graphite, Carbon and Mineral.