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How Loll Designs Creates Furnishings from Milk Jugs

June 22, 2020

Loll Designs, the Minnesota-based manufacturer of outdoor furnishings “for the modern lollygagger,” creates its products from an unexpected material—milk jugs. Learn more.

Designed “for the modern lollygagger,” Loll Designs’ breezy, comfortable outdoor furnishings are crafted from an unexpected material—milk jugs.

The company’s industrial partners turn recycled plastic pellets, primarily from single-use milk jugs, into heavy-duty sheets of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic, which can then be turned into furnishings. Approximately eight jugs go into every pound of HDPE.

Photo: Platform One, a new outdoor furniture collection from Loll Designs, features a platform sofa, corner pieces and accessories. It’s ideal for outdoor spaces designed for a crowd. Courtesy of Loll Designs.

“We’re trying to do business in a way that’s actually helpful to the environment,” explains CEO Greg Benson. “By using recycled plastic, we’re part of the solution to plastic in the environment.”

From Skate Parks to Seating

Loll Designs started life in 1997 as TrueRide, a design-build contractor specializing in municipal skate parks. Some of the skate equipment used HDPE sheets, and there were frequently scraps left over. To keep the waste out of the landfill, Benson proposed repurposing the scraps into Adirondack chairs, the iconic American outdoor seating first designed in 1902.

The chairs became Loll’s signature product and their offerings quickly expanded into a wide variety of outdoor furniture, from lounge seating to accent tables, storage and planters. TrueRide was eventually sold to a friend and competitor in the skate park business.

Loll Designs has recycled 135 million milk jugs since 2005, turning them into everything from the company’s signature Adirondack chairs to the base of a new collection, Platform One—a soft seating sectional set.

Photo: The bases of all Loll Designs products are created from HDPE plastic sourced from recycled milk jugs. Eight jugs go into every pound of HDPE material. Courtesy of Loll Designs.

Platform One combines Loll’s recycled plastic base with cushions by Sunbrella for a comfy collection that’s perfect for patios, rooftop decks and other settings that need relaxed outdoor seating for a crowd. Options include built-in tables, accessory arm rests, corner pieces and an ottoman.

“It’s furniture that solves a problem,” Benson says of the modular pieces that make up Platform One. “You can incrementally create seating for however many people you may want to put in an outdoor space.”

Why Specify Recycled Content?

Specifying furniture made out of HDPE or other recycled materials solves several common design problems:

1. A need for recycled content.

Green building certifications like LEED often require a certain percentage of recycled content for projects. Products that are primarily made from recycled materials, like Loll Designs’ offerings, can help projects meet recycled content goals and earn more credits with certifications where that’s a priority.

2. A solution for disposal.

When it’s time for a redesign, some furnishings are headed for the landfill. HDPE pieces like Loll’s can be recycled again and turned into new furniture when it’s time to redesign a space.

[Related: Camira Combats Marine Plastic Pollution with New Oceanic Fabric]

3. Furnishings that break or show their age.

Durability is the name of the game with HDPE. The material is often used for cutting boards because it’s tough and doesn’t harbor bacteria. Loll’s durable pieces need no maintenance other than the occasional cleaning, and the company can easily replace any component, so your clients won’t have to get rid of a whole piece of furniture if a part breaks.

“Imagine if chairs were single-use—you sat in a chair and then had to throw it in a landfill,” Benson says. “That doesn’t make any sense. It’s the same mentality with recyclable containers. They don’t need to just be garbage—they can be used again.”

Learn more about Loll Designs’ innovative use of HDPE from milk jugs through the numbers below.

Platform One Collection

8 milk jugs per pound of plastic material
100% of the furniture base is made from recycled materials
250+ products across all Loll Designs collections
9 base colors available for Platform One, with 6 fabric colors
1 day required to produce a piece of furniture
70 employees
135 million milk jugs recycled since 2005

Read Next: How to Specify: Sustainable Furniture

About the Author

Janelle Penny | Editor-in-Chief BUILDINGS

Janelle Penny has more than a decade of experience in journalism, with a special emphasis on covering facilities. She aims to deliver practical, actionable content for her readers.

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