Paper Brick

By Jiahui Yao

Even now, in the digital age, we still waste a phenomenal amount of paper. Sure, we recycle it, but wouldn’t it be better to re-use it? Or does it all end up in cardboard boxes and toilet paper rolls? There are uses for paper that we don’t always think of, and Paperbricks is one of them. This interesting innovation comes from a small shop in the Netherlands, run by a Korean—New Zealander, of course.

The innovation starts with the understanding that paper fibres are broken down with each round of recycling. That is, the quality of the paper downgrades each time. Paperbricks are made from recycled newspaper. They are hard, and shaped like bricks, so that they can be stacked or turned into different pieces of furniture, such as benches and tables.

This type of innovation adds another cycle to paper that would not otherwise exist—newsprint is already close to the end of paper’s life. And they incorporate sustainable design by making something less wasteful and more permanent. Rather than simply squeezing out one more cycle from the paper, the bricks end up used in furniture that lasts for years. And it means fewer trees cut down for furniture, saving another resource as well. Paperbricks are an excellent example of thought leadership in sustainable design.

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