The properties of the material are, as described in the section on products and sustainability, one of the important factors in valuating the sustainability of a product. Here is just a description of the materials used in our products:
Bamboo works like other carbonaceous materials such as CO2 depot, and is grown without pesticides and fertilizers. Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants in the world (some species can grow up to 4 cm per hour) and can be considered a renewable resource.
Cultivated bamboo stabilizes the soil with its roots and prevents erosion. It absorbs greenhouse gases and produces more than 35% more oxygen than a corresponding green tree. Bamboo forests support a high degree of biodiversity.
Technically, bamboo is a grass, but with a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete and a steel tensile strength.
Bioplastics are relatively sustainable compared to fossil plastics
Bioplastic is understood to mean plastic made from biomass, e.g. corn, sugar beet, sugar cane and straw.
Bioplastics, compared to fossil plastics, are relatively sustainable, as the carbon contained is part of the recirculating carbon in our ecosystem. Unlike ordinary plastic, which is made on oil and gas, which after the end of its life cycle means a further supply of CO2 to the atmosphere.
If possible, nature’s own materials such as cork, sustainable woods etc. will, however, be a more sustainable alternative.
Bioplastics, like polyethylene, are biodegradable, but hardly compostable as claimed by some manufacturers. Bioplast is suitable for food.
If recycling of bioplastic is not possible, it is important that it is sent for incineration, which is also the norm in Denmark. In the case of oxygen-free composting, there is a risk of developing methane, an extremely harmful greenhouse gas.
Recycled plastic is – despite its fossil origin – a sustainable material. Plastic has an extremely high carbon content, so recycled plastic acts as a carbon deposit. If plastic is not recycled, it will either break down into CO2 and thus contribute to the greenhouse effect, or end up as polluting waste. The Plastic Oceans Foundation estimates that over 8 million tonnes of plastic will end up in the world’s oceans every year.
For every ton of recycled plastic, 3.8 barrels of oil are saved.
In Denmark, almost all of our plastic is recycled. It is recycled for new products, or energy is extracted from it at incineration plants – unlike most other EU countries, where most of them end up in landfills.
Glass is a sustainable and fully recyclable material that offers great environmental benefits. Glass is a resource-efficient material made from natural raw materials such as sand and glass waste. Glass is a 100 percent recyclable material that can be recycled over and over again. On the minus side, large amounts of energy are consumed for both production and recycling, so sustainability is highly dependent on the energy source in the manufacturing process.
Even when glass does not end up being recycled, due to its natural composition and inability to decompose, it does not release harmful materials into the environment.
Rubber (natural rubber / latex)
Rubber is a renewable resource harvested from the rubber tree, which can immediately be considered a sustainable crop. However, there are often local environmental conditions and poor working and payroll conditions associated with production and harvesting.
Recycled rubber is a highly sustainable material that does not require the harvesting of rubber, but instead consists of rubber that is already in circulation. The deposited carbon is thus deposited and freezes the atmosphere from CO2 contamination.
Cork is a highly sustainable and recyclable material that is both renewable, recyclable and compostable. Cork originates from the cork gene, which grows throughout the Mediterranean region. Over 60% of all harvested cork comes from Portugal. Thus also the products on grøntkontor.dk.
Cork can be harvested every year on the same tree, making it a virtually inexhaustible resource, so it is estimated that only the Portuguese share of cork resources will be able to meet global demand this century.
Cork has amazing natural properties: High abrasion resistance, insulation ability, heat resistance (a cork oak can actually survive a forest fire).
Cork forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity compared to other forest types.
Brass is an alloy made of a mixture of copper and zinc. It is a strong material, rust-resistant, durable and easy to work. The brass industry around the world depends on the recycling of brass scrap in order to survive, as the material is too expensive to throw away. Producing brass from new copper and zinc will be uneconomical and waste of raw materials. As new brass articles are usually made of recycled scrap, brass can all be considered as a sustainable material.
Steel / iron
Steel is almost 100% recycled and can therefore be regarded as a sustainable material
Steel is extracted from iron ore with carbon added, making it a stronger and more durable product than iron. Production of steel in itself is not sustainable, as large amounts of CO2 are produced from fossil materials in the process.
Wood sustainability depends on the degree of replanting.
Tree sustainability is primarily dependent on the degree of reproduction. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) mark is a guarantee of wood that you can buy with a clear conscience. In an FSC-certified forest, no more wood is felled than the forest can reproduce. At the same time, the FSC certificate guarantees that animals and plant life are protected and that the people working in the forest are guaranteed education, safety equipment and a reasonable salary.
Forest Stewardship Council only marks wood from forests that are sustainably managed.
Wood can be sustainably produced, even if it is not certified, but it is difficult for consumers to ensure that this is the case.
In Denmark and large parts of Europe (and elsewhere in the world), the forest area is increasing today, ie. the growth is greater than the bark.
Elsewhere, including many places in the tropics, the forest is declining and cleared or over-exploited in favor of agriculture, mining and timber production – in many ways the same development Denmark itself had through 200 years ago. In many places it even goes against the country of origin’s own legislation. By choosing sustainable wood, as a consumer, one can help ensure the forest’s long-term production, while taking a number of other necessary considerations into forestry operations.