Plastic recycling : Sirmax collaborates with design brand Arper to create a collection of sustainable chairs

Sirmax from Padua collaborates with the Treviso design brand Arper for the creation of a collection of sustainable chairs.
© Sirmax

Sirmax Group has teamed up with Arper to create a sustainable design collection. Sirmax, based in Cittadella (Padua) and specialised in the production of polypropylene compounds, technopolymers, post-consumer compounds and bio-compounds for various applications, has contributed to the creation of the new "Aava 02" seating line. The line was designed by Finnish designer Antti Kotilainen for Arper, an Italian brand renowned for its design excellence.

The line consists of chairs made from post-consumer recycled plastic combined with virgin polypropylene. This combination results in extremely durable, versatile, lightweight and sustainable furniture. At the Plast 2023 international trade fair, which is held in Milan from 5 to 8 September and brings together the main players in the plastics and rubber industry, the Sirmax Group is exhibiting "Aava 02" along with its wide range of thermoplastic resin compounds. This display will allow visitors to discover the potential of post-consumer regenerated plastics.

Plast 2023 will also be an opportunity for Sirmax to unveil the group's new names. It has been decided to change the name of the group's bio compounds production to Sirmax Biocomp, while the plastics production business will be known as Sirmax New Life.

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From waste to designer furniture: The Sirmax chair

Sirmax will be exhibiting at Plast in Hall 9, Stand C146. The centrepiece of the exhibition will be the "Aava 02" chair created for Arper, a brand synonymous with design excellence. This chair was previously exhibited at the Salone Del Mobile in Milan last spring. "Aava 02" represents an evolution in the sustainability journey of both Sirmax and Arper. For this project, a custom thermoplastic compound was used that incorporates post-consumer material, primarily from flexible and rigid food packaging.

This new recycled glass fibre-reinforced polypropylene, combined with virgin plastic from the Sirmax Green Isoglass range, is incredibly strong and durable without compromising on high-quality finishes and colours. Different colours contain varying levels of post-consumer recycled content - up to 40% in the darker colours. An average of 12.3lbs (5.6kg) of post-consumer waste is used to make 10 chairs.

Post-consumer recycling is at the heart of Sirmax's efforts. Significant investment in research and development is aimed at creating recycled plastic with the same properties as virgin plastic. This process starts with colour, which is one of the most challenging aspects. Recycled plastic, like paper, tends to be darker in colour than virgin plastic. The Aava 02 chair is a significant achievement, demonstrating excellent colour gradation achieved with post-consumer material. This achievement embodies a production path that starts with waste and culminates in design excellence.

“We are proud of the collaboration with Arper, a company dedicated to excellence and an outstanding partner,” states Sirmax Group President and CEO Massimo Pavin. “While our core business focuses on the home appliances and automotive sectors, we have always kept an eye on the Made in Italy furniture industry. Thanks to Arper, we are able to solidify our commitment to high-end design, and we are thrilled to present the first outcome of this partnership: The ‘Aava 02’ chair.”

By prioritising post-consumer plastic, Aava 02 helps cut the amount of plastic waste in the environment and promotes truly circular design. This approach not only minimises the amount of plastic in landfills, but also makes a significant contribution to the circular economy.

“Sustainability holds a central role in our strategic vision both as a brand and as a company,” comments Claudio Checchin, Arper R&D Director. “When designing a product, we are committed to applying any innovative insights to the development processes, consistently seeking better solutions to lessen our impact. Aava 02 reimagines the Aava seat through innovative post-consumer recycled plastic. In Sirmax, we have discovered an invaluable partner who is always looking for creative and functional solutions, and who shares our values and sustainability goals. These are goals that Sirmax actively pursues, supported by significant investments in transitioning from a linear to a circular economy."

Change of name to better identify the Sirmax Group's businesses

Another important development is the recent restructuring of the Group's nomenclature. This change aims to improve the clarity of the Group's different production sectors and to give a clear identity to the Group's wholly-owned subsidiaries. SER, responsible for post-consumer recycled plastic products, is now known as Sirmax New Life srl, while Microtec, engaged in the production of compostable bio-compounds, has become Sirmax Biocomp srl. With this change, the Group aims to strengthen its presence in view of the growing demand from the automotive industry for products with a minimum recycled content and the increasingly stringent regulations on the packaging.

President Pavin elaborates on this decision, stating, “We have made and continue to make investments in the bio and recycled sectors. Plast 23 offers an opportunity to introduce these new names within the Group. Our objective is to enhance the transparency of our business units to the market. In doing so, we are able to further amplify the efforts of the Sirmax Group in the recycled and bio product segments.”