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The Ultimate Office Recycling: Office Furniture Made Out of Paper

paperdeskOffice furniture can be expensive, not to mention hard to dispose of when you’re tired of it. Tossing aside giant desks and chairs and shelving is wasteful, and who really wants to spend time advertising tired old furnishings on the internet?

Enter Our Paper Life, a Toronto-based furniture company that makes desks and shelves out of cardboard and sells them for as little as $19.99.

Each desk and shelf arrive in a flat pack via the mail, and can be assembled by inserting a few “tab As into slot Bs.” It sounds pretty convenient and easy, although to be fair, that’s what we thought about IKEA furniture before we’d ever tried to assemble some without a drill, two extra pounds of hardware, and a stiff drink.

The cardboard furniture is aimed at the student market, which makes sense, since founders Geoff Christou and Chris Porteous are both recent college grads. But we have to say that we know plenty of post-college people who could find a use for cheap, recyclable furniture that you can just toss in a blue bin when the lease is up. The furniture also seems like it would fit in pretty well in a lot of start-up offices, where most people bring in their own digital devices and assembling your cardboard desk is likely to be the only “paperwork” you ever do.

The desk is tested to hold up to 65 pounds — “if evenly distributed.” However, we sort of hope people don’t limit themselves to the weight guidelines, since it would be fun to watch your coworker’s desk collapse like Dwight Schrute’s Christmas desk.

Christou and Porteous already anticipated our other concern, which was that our clumsiness and refusal to stop drinking 47 Diet Cokes a day would mean a limited shelf-life for the furniture. (Seriously, everything we own is covered with soda can rings. It’s super elegant.)

“We asked for a water-resistant coating, and [the paper supplier] agreed to use water-resistant glue on the inside, so the cardboard wouldn’t delaminate if it got wet,” says Christou.

The jury’s still out on whether anyone has ever invented a water-resistant coating that could stand up to most college students’ beverage consumption habits, but at least the decline in the popularity of cigarette smoking means that dorms won’t have to worry about people’s furnishings going up in flames.


Posted by James Wilkie

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