The “play it green! award” goes to: ecoBirdy. The brand convinced not only with its children’s furniture made of recycled plastic toys, but also with its commitment to educating primary school children about plastic and marine pollution. Luna Journal told founder Joris Vanbriel what ecoBirdy’s mission is and why the company has developed its own material.

Congratulations for the “play it green! award”, which honours companies/initiatives that are forward-looking and dedicated to socio-ecological change in the world. For which product did you receive the award? What does the award mean to you?

Joris Vanbriel, founder of ecoBirdy: Thank you very much for the compliments! We have received the “play it green! award” for our whole debut collection of kids furniture pieces: Charlie the chair and Luisa the table, Kiwi, a kiwi bird shaped container and Rhino, our lamp that takes its inspiration from a rhinoceros. The whole collection is made of 100% recycled plastic. Both animal shaped pieces are intended to raise awareness, not only of sustainability, but also of endangered species. Winning the play it green! award means a recognition of our work. ecoBirdy was launched in January this year and is the result of a 2 year long in-depth research on how to sustainably recycle plastic toys. We are a new brand, international exposure and recognition is very important to us. Beyond that it makes us very happy that sustainable and ecological products are getting more and more attention these days.

How did the nomination come about?

We were called and informed about the nomination of our products for the play it green! award. An award that recognizes forward-looking works with dedication to socio-ecological change in the world – we felt very honoured and could immediately find ecoBirdy in these values.

What does sustainability mean to you? How important is the topic at ecoBirdy?

Sustainability is very important to me personally. It brings more transparency and guilt-free living. It was also the starting point of our idea for ecoBirdy – it was essential for us that every single step of our business is based on social and environmental responsibility.

What is the mission of your company?

We want to help to reduce the sea of plastic waste that is so harmful for our planet. With our accompanying school programme and storybook we aim to teach children about circular design and inspire them to contribute to a more sustainable future. We think that starting with the little ones can have the biggest impact on our earth’s future.

Are your products certified? How important are seals to you?

Safety is very important for us. Throughout the whole process the material is being checked by humans and machines. In every batch of materials samples are checked in the lab. We have several performed tests for all products of our collection:

– VOC emissions of the recycled material according to ISO 16000-9, 16000-6, 16000-3

– EN 1729-2 for educational institutions, done by SGS

– D60-300-1 (2008), D60-300-2 (2008)

What makes ecological design furniture so special?

Our ecological furniture pieces are made of recycled material, 100% made of recycled plastic. With the production of every single Charlie chair we save 2.9kg of plastic from being incinerated, landfilled or from ending up in our earth’s oceans. In addition 7.25kg of CO2 emissions are avoided. Isn’t that special? In the same time we recover a lot of plastic waste that normally would end up in landfill, waste incineration or even oceans.

You have not only created designer furniture, but also an accompanying system. What exactly is this all about?

Besides our design furniture collection we have developed a school programme and a storybook. Both are intended to introduce youngsters to the circular economy and inspire to contribute to a more sustainable future.

Our storybook “Journey to a new life” is inspired by real life and tells the story of a plastic push bike – one of the most common plastic toys for toddlers – and his plastic toy friends that after being thrown away all end up in our earth’s ecosystem. Smart birdy fortunately tells them about ecoBirdy laboratory, where old toys are upcycled into new furniture pieces. With this book we go to schools and tell children our story. At the same time old plastic toys are collected in these schools, which are used for the production of our collection then.

You use the specially developed material ecothylene for your furniture. What are the qualities of the material? How did you come up with the idea of developing your own material?

It was essential for us to create products that are not only made of 100% recycled material but are also easily and entirely recyclable again. We have worked a lot on the development of this material, which makes it also possible to create our colourful collection without adding any resin or additional pigments.

On which markets are you already represented? Which markets would you like to open up?

We have officially launched our products in Europe starting from January this year, today we are actually leaving for the official ecoBirdy launch in Asia. From the very beginning we could see that the interest is very big in our brand and our story, from all over the world. Australia was one of the first countries where ecoBirdy has been distributed.

Is it also possible to purchase your products in stationary stores?

Yes, our products are sold in stores as well as directly in our webshop:

What other social aspects do you pursue with your company?

All our design, recycling and the production is done in Europe. Fair business practices in our business and all companies we are working with are essential for us. In the first check of the collected plastic toys, we have involved a local sheltered workshop. By collaborating with a sheltered workshop, we strive to create social-added value.

What future plans are you pursuing?

We are continuously researching on ecological and sustainable materials to create more collections out of these materials. It will always be essential for us to base our choices on social and environmental responsibility.


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Image: PR