Sustainability is more than an environmental concept – it’s big business too. At the Impact Investor Ball last week, several startups pitched their products for a more sustainable future. Lean Green was one of them. The company has developed a festival chair in biodegradable and recyclable cardboard.
The chair has been a hit at Roskilde Festival, the annual music festival that brings thousands to Roskilde, Denmark for a week of music and partying. Whatever your feelings on the festival, everyone can agree that it creates a lot of garbage. Especially if you are staying in the camping area, where without fail on the Monday after the festival you can find a veritable cornucopia of discarded tents and canned pâté.
Roskilde Festival organizers do their best to protect the environment, but it is an uphill battle. Entrepreneurs at heart, the founders of Lean Green Kristian Grauting Lundager and Mathias Østergaard were inspired by the festival’s hang-out areas last year, where they found a range of poor, unsustainable seating.
65,000 camping chairs fill the Roskilde Festival every year
Every year, an average of 300 kg of waste is generated per square meter of the 1000 m2 Roskilde Festival camping grounds alone. Festival chairs, which are often made from non-environmentally friendly materials like plastic, metal and textiles, constitute a large part of the waste. In fact there were no less than 65,000 camping chairs at the festival.
The founders decided to try a new solution: festival chairs made in cardboard. Why cardboard? Can it even hold? But the material is shockingly strong, and is 100% biodegradable and recyclable.
Baptising Lean Green at Distortion
The young startup has already field-tested their chair. They already used the chairs at Distortion, a large annual street party in Copenhagen – and a few company events. And the Impact Investor Ball, which was held at the US Embassy, even used a few of them on the embassy lawn.
“We have successfully delivered chairs to various events and festivals, where we had field tested our prototypes beyond our own stress tests, and where the chairs held as expected. In addition, our product is still in development to optimize the user experience, sustainability, and production, “says Mathias Østergaard.
Part of the development involves creating a waterproof but still sustainable coating over cardboard material, so the chairs can handle a night out in the rain. There have been many ideas in circulation to clear this hurdle, and the company is in contact with the Queensland University & Tech, who have developed such a coating. So if all goes well, one can expect waterproof Lean Green-chairs in the near future.
The chairs are also a perfect platform for advertising, and are therefore a major opportunity for businesses to use the chairs for environmentally responsible promotion. Lean Green has already seen interest from various companies at their previous events, where the chairs have been adorned with logos. The startup also has plans to create collapsible chairs out of bamboo for consumers to buy privately.