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About materials and sustainability

As described in the section on products and sustainability, the properties of the material are one of the important factors in assessing the sustainability of a product. Here is a description of the materials that are the main components of our products:


As described in the section on products and sustainability, the properties of the material are one of the important factors in assessing the sustainability of a product. Here’s a description of the materials that make up the main components of our products:

Bamboo is a highly sustainable material.

Like other natural products, bamboo acts as a 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).

Cultivated bamboo stabilizes the soil with its roots and prevents erosion. It absorbs greenhouse gases and produces more than 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees. Bamboo forests support a high level of biodiversity.

Technically, bamboo is a grass, but with a higher compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete and a tensile strength comparable to steel.

Bioplastic (PLA)

Bioplastics are plastics made from biomass, such as corn, grain, sugar beet, sugar cane and straw.

Compared to fossil-based plastics, bioplastics are relatively sustainable as the carbon contained is part of the recycling carbon in our ecosystem. Unlike regular plastic, which is made from oil and gas, which at the end of its lifecycle means an additional input of CO2 into the atmosphere.

However, if possible, nature’s own materials such as cork, sustainable woods etc. are a more sustainable alternative.

Bioplastics are biodegradable and, under ideal conditions, compostable. Bioplastics are suitable for food.

Bioplastics are not recyclable, so it is important that they are sent for incineration, which is the norm in Denmark. In anaerobic composting, there is a risk of developing methane, a highly harmful greenhouse gas.

Recycled plastic

Despite its fossil origins, recycled plastic is a relatively sustainable and recyclable material. Plastic has an extremely high carbon content, so recycled plastic acts as a carbon sink. If plastic is not recycled, it will either decompose into CO2, contributing to the greenhouse effect, or end up as polluting waste. The Plastic Oceans Foundation estimates that over 8 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year.

For every ton of recycled plastic, 3.8 barrels of oil are saved.
In Denmark, most plastic is recycled. It is reused in new products or energy is extracted from it at incineration plants – unlike in most other EU countries, where most of it ends up in landfills.


Glass is a relatively 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 waste glass. Glass is a 100 percent recyclable material that can be reused over and over again. On the downside, large amounts of energy are consumed in both manufacturing 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 will not release harmful materials into the environment.

Rubber (natural rubber / latex)

Rubber is a renewable resource harvested from the rubber tree, which at first glance can be considered a sustainable crop. However, there are often local environmental conditions and poor working and wage conditions associated with production and harvesting.

Recycled rubber

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. This deposits the contained carbon and keeps the atmosphere free from CO2 pollution.


Cork is a sustainable, biodegradable and compostable natural material. Cork comes from the cork oak tree, which grows throughout the Mediterranean region. Over 60% of all harvested cork comes from Portugal. And so do the products at grøntkontor.dk.

Cork is a rapidly regenerating resource that can be harvested every year from the same tree, it is estimated that the Portuguese share of cork resources alone will be able to satisfy global demand for the rest of this century.

Cork has amazing natural properties: high durability, insulation, heat resistance (a cork oak can actually survive a forest fire).

Cork oak forests support one of the highest levels of biodiversity compared to other forest types.


Brass is an alloy made from a mixture of copper and zinc. It is a strong material, rust-resistant, durable and easy to work with. The brass industry around the world depends on recycling scrap brass to survive, as the material is too costly to throw away. Making brass from new copper and zinc would be uneconomical and wasteful of raw materials. Since new brass goods are usually made from recycled scrap, brass can be considered a relatively sustainable material overall.

Steel / Iron

Steel is extracted from iron ore – a virtually limitless resource – with carbon added, making it a stronger and more durable product than iron. The production of steel is inherently unsustainable, as large amounts of CO2 from fossil fuels are produced in the process.

Steel allows for the repeated reuse of countless products – from paper clips to car components and railroad tracks – and is also very robust and durable, adding an extra dimension to sustainability.

When steel is produced, its life cycle is potentially infinite because it is easily separated from other materials and waste with magnets and 100% recyclable without loss of quality. Therefore, in practice, steel/iron can be considered a relatively sustainable material.


The sustainability of wood is first and foremost dependent on the reproduction rate. The FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label is a guarantee of wood you can buy with a clear conscience. In an FSC-certified forest, no more wood is harvested 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 training, safety equipment and a fair wage.

The Forest Stewardship Council only labels wood from forests that are managed in an environmentally responsible manner.

Wood can be sustainably produced even if it is not certified, but as a consumer, it is difficult to ensure that this is the case.

In Denmark and large parts of Europe (and indeed elsewhere in the world), the forest area is currently increasing, i.e. growth is greater than harvesting, although not necessarily in the short term.

Elsewhere, including many places in the tropics, forests are in decline and are being cleared or overexploited for agriculture, mining and timber production – in many ways the same development Denmark itself went through until 200 years ago. In many places, this is even in violation of the country of origin’s own legislation. By choosing FSC-certified wood, consumers can help ensure the long-term production of the forest, while at the same time taking a number of other necessary considerations into account in forest management.


Cotton is one of the world’s oldest commercial and agricultural commodities. Cotton is a natural product that is particularly used for textiles. At grøntkontor.dk you will find several different products with cotton as a common denominator.

Organic cotton is grown from non-genetically modified seeds and without the use of pesticides and other harmful chemical substances. In addition to the environmental and climate benefits of organic cotton, its softness, hypoallergenicity and high absorbency can be highlighted. Textiles labeled with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) is the international standard for organically produced cotton and guarantees social responsibility in the work process.

Recycled cotton is less climate-impacting than conventional/organic cotton, it excels at extending the lifespan of cotton products and thus acts as a CO2 storage for already produced cotton.

Conventional cotton is an excellent and relatively sustainable choice compared to synthetic textiles such as polyester and acrylic, but not the obvious sustainable choice when compared to organic or recycled cotton.

Fairtrade and GOTS labeled products made from both conventional and organic cotton indicate that the production process ensures fair wages and decent working conditions for plantation and factory workers in the world’s poorest countries.

We always strive to offer our customers an environmentally friendly and socially responsible choice of products. However, we do have a few Chinese-made uncertified products in our bom

Recycled paper

Recycled paper is made from recovered paper, which – instead of being incinerated – is cleaned of fillers and dyes so that the pulp fibers can be reused.
Recycled paper is basically the most sustainable choice of paper, partly because no forests are cut down in the production process. In addition, the production of recycled paper is significantly less energy and resource-intensive than the production of conventional white paper, which means that there is a significantly lower emission of CO2 into the environment and production residues into wastewater.

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