500 – 5,000 years! How Much Have You Thrown Away?
R3 Solutions is pleased to be in partnership with Comfort Research, a Grand Rapids soft furnishing manufacturer, to recycle foam from our reupholstery and remanufacturing work. That’s because each seat cushion that gets thrown away is the equivalent of 3 cubic feet of foam, and can take hundreds of years to degrade in the landfill. Through our partnership, we’re diverting a literal mountain of foam from landfills across West Michigan.
Comfort Research – Innovators of the “Fuf”
So what happens to your recycled foam when we part ways in the shop? Sterilization and shredding are in its future to fill a line of “funtastic” soft products that utilize 100% post-consumer shredded polyethene foam, including Comfort Research’s hallmark product, the Fuf.
Comfort Research believes that making an earth friendly product is not just the sustainable thing to do, it’s the right thing to do. To that end, they’ve developed long lasting UltimaX beans from 80% post-consumer recycled content, UltimaX fiber from recycled soda bottles in pet bed lines, and use 100% post-consumer shredded polyethene foam in the Fuf seating line – All which are 100% recyclable!
The company produces a full line of soft furnishings beyond the Fuf, including the “Big Joe” alternative bean bag chair, to “Sunshine on a Rainy Day” motivational ottomons, cube chairs and flip chairs. Check out their product line here to go green: https://buybigjoe.com
Read more to learn about the backstory of the company founded by two Hope College students.
Backstory: Two Guys, A Problem, and a Wood Chipper
When co-founders Matt Jung and Chip George were just two students at Hope College in Holland, Michigan, they had a problem: an inadequate, uncomfortable old beanbag with a penchant for bruised tailbones. With a free afternoon on their hands, they decided to give the bag a little pick-me-up. They quickly surveyed their surroundings and found a heap of foam mattress pads. Bingo! The two began shredding these pads like a term paper they never wanted found. Then, they stuffed the pieces into the old bag. Two hours, some liquid refreshments and handfuls of shredded pads later, the beanbag was back to new and – more importantly – an idea was born: The Fuf.
Matt and Chip then looked around and recognized something they had learned in Econ 101: a market. Universities around the state were filled with prospective customers eager for an affordable, durable and comfortable place to lounge. It took some more shredding, some stitching and an occasional missed class (sorry, Mom!), but soon the Fuf could be found underneath college kids across Michigan.
Exhausted from non-stop campus trips, the two then decided to test a sales method that didn’t rely on “trunk sales.” With a little convincing, the General Manager of a local Meijer store agreed to purchase 50 Fufs. To everyone’s surprise, they sold out in just 8 days. The next batch? Gone in 12. Recognizing a true opportunity, Meijer ordered 1,200 more Fufs, which brought the chair into stores statewide. After a few celebratory libations, Matt and Chip got back to work to meet the growing demand.
Today, Comfort Research is proud to be a 101 Best and Brightest Sustainable Companies™ national award winner for 2015 and 2016. This premier awards symposium celebrates those companies that are making their businesses more sustainable, the lives of their employees better and the community locally and globally as a whole. Nice job, guys!