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Transfer Enterprises, Inc.

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SIT Responsibly: Best Sustainable and Ergonomic Office Chairs to Buy in 2020

An estimated 9 billion tons of furniture is dumped in landfills every year. The leading manufacturers in office furniture products have worked to lessen the environmental impact of discarded office furniture by focusing on sustainable, recyclable designs and manufacturing practices.

In 2002, William McDonough and Dr. Michael Braungart published the book Cradle to Cradle, Remaking the Way We Make Things and subsequently raised the bar for responsible manufacturing processes across the globe. Cradle to Cradle (C2C) manufacturing evaluates the entire lifecycle of the item being produced. C2C products are made with minimal waste, recycled materials, and environmentally and socially responsibly processes. The C2C certification assesses the following:

  • Reuse of materials and the percentage of which is used in the manufacturing process
  • Safety and value of materials used in production, specifically the effect of these materials on the environment and their ability to biodegrade at end of life cycle
  • 100% use of renewable energy throughout the manufacturing process
  • Stringent use of water
  • Level to which all people and nature involved in the creation of the product are treated with fairness and social responsibility

When I discuss office chairs with clients, the most common buzz words are “ergonomic”, and “comfortable”. Below is a carefully assessed list of desk and office chairs that are highly sustainable, in addition to be highly rated for their ergonomic adjustments. My top 3 choices for C2C chairs are the Steelcase Leap, the Herman Miller Aeron and the Steelcase Think.

Steelcase Leap Chair

steelcase leap v2 indigo full function ergonomic task chair

The Leap chair was created by Steelcase in 1999. For over 20 years, the Leap has continued to be Steelcase’s number one selling task chair. It is made of 35% recycled content. Furthermore, an impressive 94% of the materials of the chair are recyclable upon disassembly.

Features of the Steelcase Leap chair include:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment
  • 4-way adjustable arms
  • Seat slide
  • Tilt tension adjustment
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Lower back firmness adjustment

Take sustainability one step further by shopping refurbished Steelcase Leap V2 chairs here.

Herman Miller Aeron

herman miller aeron ergonomic chair size c

Perhaps one of the most iconic ergonomic chairs, the Aeron by Herman Miller was made to be different. The first design was officially launched in 1994 and has since been remastered in 2016. The Herman Miller Aeron is made of 64% recycled content and is 94% recyclable when disassembled. The chair is available in 3 different sizes: A, B, and C to accommodate different body shapes, sizes, and weights.

Features of the Herman Miller Aeron include:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment
  • Height adjustable arms
  • Seat tilt
  • Back tilt and lock
  • Adjustable lumbar support

Shop even more sustainably by purchasing a reconditioned Aeron. Browse models in either black or blue.

Steelcase Think Chair

steelcase think lumbar support mesh back

The Think by Steelcase was the first office furniture product to be C2C certified. It was first created in 2004 and has continued to be one of the most sustainable and responsibly manufactured office chairs on the market. The Steelcase Think is made of 37% recycled parts and is 99% recyclable. Models are available in full upholstery, mesh back, and leather.

Features of the Steelcase Think chair include:

  • Pneumatic height adjustment
  • 4-way adjustable arms
  • Seat slide
  • Tilt tension adjustment
  • Adjustable lumbar support

Minimize your office’s environmental footprint by considering reconditioned Think chairs in both leather and mesh back.

All of these chairs are available to test in person at Transfer Enterprises’ Showroom in Manchester, CT.

The author of this article, Alyssa Jones, is a commercial designer and the showroom/marketing manager for Transfer Enterprises, Inc. Total Office Furniture Solutions in Manchester, CT. She can be reached at 860-645-9090 ex.119 or ajones@tedesk.com


Want to learn more about C2C? Check out this TED Talk with Dr. Braungart:

SIT Responsibly: Best Sustainable and Ergonomic Office Chairs to Buy in 2020
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