Building Furniture from Waste

Back at It’s All Academic Festival 2019
October 6, 2019
Green Man 2019
October 15, 2019

Reclaimed Garden Furniture. Essential for taking any festival on a renewable ride!

What is it?

Salvaged from the streets of London, reclaimed, reworked and re-loved, this furniture forms a lounge and forum in which to discuss environment ideas and technologies and share knowledge. Instead of the great marble senate of Rome. PPL PWR has the reclaimed version!


Did you know that in 2017 almost 1,310,000 tonnes of wood was thrown away in the UK, but only 31% of it is actually recycled. How much of that is the wooden pallets that you see every large scale delivery take place?

How did this project begin?

As PPL PWR grew from table-top demos, to include talks, workshops and panel discussions, they had an increasing need to create a more communal and open space. In order to “power sustainable change”, what better way than to create a lounge from recycled materials. This idea allows PPL PWR to bring people together and disseminate ideas, whilst doing a small part for managing the waste in the environment. 

This is all about being creative, thinking outside the box. Thinking about the waste of the world around you, then utilising it to be something more, something remade, something renewable! 

The Creation

The initial prototype was put together by Molkie and a childhood friend of his over an evening. Using wooden delivery pallets; an abundant source of wood, but not without its troubles. The wood itself can be difficult to work with. Being incredibly rough to start off with and it takes some time to get the roughness sanded out of the wood. 

This is a great project to be involved in because not only were they able to create a renewable form of furniture and create homely environments purely through sheer creativity! 

‘The best part of the whole project was watching the growth of the PPL PWR team as some of them were using power tools for the first time; watching as their confidence grew as they used the tools.’  – Molkie

The greatest thing about the space these pieces create, is that it can be used for team building, allowing the team and the public to get together and share ideas bringing a small bit of home comfort to an event.

How could it be Improved?

This project is a great team building project as well as a fun and renewable way to create furniture for festivals and events. The whole concept of reclaimed furniture is a great way to show people that recycling doesn’t just have to be ‘throwing it in a different bin’ – it can also bring something tangible into your life. 

That being said, one of the more difficult things about this particular project was the condition of the materials. Using materials that you have reclaimed from the streets can be a two way street, sometimes you will stumble across some truly wonderful materials that can be used to create some really high quality furniture.

Remember when picking your materials its ok to be choosey. Only the more experienced hands should be looking at upcycling lower quality materials. If you’re just getting started then it’s best to stick to newer better quality pallets. 

As you can see from the pictures however, old tired pallets, with a few licks of varnish or paint, can look entirely different and anyone that’s handy with a paintbrush can decorate the furniture in any whimsical fashion. 

**Only use power tools if you’re over the age of 18 or with adult supervision. When searching for materials absolutely do not trespass on other people’s property and if unsure always ask permission this is not a guide to the creation of reclaimed furniture merely an overview of the idea**

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