Furnishings from waste in the built environment


Nov 1, 2019

Furnishings from waste in the built environment


  • Industry partners: Mirvac, Emma Elizabeth Designs, Coco Republic
  • Research organisation: UNSW SMaRT Centre
  • Facilitator: NSW Circular


Unveiling its new residential development, Marrick & Co, the first One Planet Living (OPL) community in NSW, Mirvac sought to highlight the benefits of using recycled waste in the home environment. Having succeeded in diverting 95 per cent of waste from landfill in the construction of Marrick & Co, just short of the zero waste target in its “This Changes Everything” sustainability strategy,  Mirvac wished to turn the spotlight on one of the OPL principles relating to materials by transforming waste products into beautiful and useable furnishings for the home.

The solution

NSW Circular’s role has been to connect Mirvac to researchers at UNSW’s Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) Centre to demonstrate how waste materials can be given a new life, transformed into new, high quality products suitable for the residential sector. NSW Circular stays involved in each pilot project to help ensure it achieve its full potential.

To complete the collaboration, Mirvac introduced Australian designer Emma Elizabeth and Coco Republic, to the SMaRT Centre, and together the team produced a series of furniture including a dining table, side tables, and artworks, made from waste plastic, glass, corflute and textiles sourced from local supply chains. The textiles include a designer dress donated by Emma Elizabeth, and the waste Corflute banners came from promotional posters on campus at UNSW that would have gone to landfill.

The products formed the centrepiece of a Mirvac-hosted media event and are on display at Marrick & Co, in the inner-west Sydney suburb of Marrickville.

Why is this Circular?

By introducing value added products made from waste to the residential market in this way, the project is able to demonstrate that waste as a resource can be valued, upcycled, reformed and reintroduced into a new supply chain, viable for commercial purposes.

Benefits & Outcomes

This pilot project is providing proof of concept for high quality, unique furnishings from waste, enabling end-of-life materials to be considered as appropriate feedstock for other uses within the built environment such as floors, cabinets and tiling.

The outcome of the pilot project’s first stage proves that waste can be upcycled and engineered into objects and materials that can serve functional and aesthetic purposes. By demonstrating that these items have commercial and industry interest, we can show that waste to product transformations are scalable, replicable and potentially commercially viable.

The collaboration achieved a further purpose in taking the science of recycling from the laboratory to an audience of design and property editors, helping to build appreciation of the wide-ranging benefits of recycling relevant to the everyday lives of their readers.

NSW Circular is now engaging further with Mirvac to consider where and how waste materials can be used to achieve their technical and spatial aims, assess potential for large-scale production and also contribute to economic, social and ecological benefits to NSW.

Media highlights

Read about the collaborative project in The Domain, on the Mirvac Residential website and watch Mirvac’s video in addition to the NSW Circular’s video highlight above.



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