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Sustainable desk accessory line bFRIENDS mixes practicality with style

Office furniture brand Bene has partnered with design and sustainability pioneers in both London and Amsterdam to bring us a fun, eco-friendly alternative to plastic desk organisers.

Oh, the joys of being organised.

It’s a quality most people strive to improve at in their day-to-day life, but without the right tools and storage, tidying up can become an endless chore – even at work.

We’ve all heard the saying ‘a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind,’ to which Albert Einstein cleverly rebutted, ‘then what is an empty desk a sign of?’ or something to that effect.

While I can appreciate his wit – my desk is often littered by wired headphones, at least two Fenty lip glosses, my smartphone, and a series of pens (most of which don’t work anymore) – having something trendy to put this stuff in would certainly incentivise me to neaten up my workspace… right?

At Thred, we’d be hypocrites to invest in virgin plastic storage compartments. Lucky for us (and you), office supply brand Bene has released a line of sustainable desktop accessories made exclusively from discarded food packaging – and it looks good too!

Credit: Bene

Designed by the brains at London-based agency Pearson Lloyd and produced by Batch.Works in Amsterdam, the aesthetically-pleasing collection is comprised of smartphone stands, pen pots, and desk trays to make up the product line bFRIENDS.

All 21 products are 3D printed from 100 percent recycled polylactic acid (PLA), a bioplastic derived from corn starch and sourced from regional landfills. At this stage, Batch.Works collaborates closely with their supplier to ensure all materials are already in their second use cycle before accepting them for printing.

The great thing about PLA is that it doesn’t rely on petrochemicals to be moulded in ways that virgin plastic does, meaning the carbon impact of production is significantly reduced.

Bringing the products closer to net zero is the Amsterdam factory where bFRIENDS is shaped. Batch.Works runs entirely on electricity derived from wind power, is located a few metres from the site of raw material production, and all employees bike to work. If you’ve been to Amsterdam, you know this isn’t hard to believe.

Those squiggly, undulating shapes aren’t there to solely make us feel happy inside either, though they might. Batch.Works has explained that using this technique saves the printer time and completely eliminates the need for hand-finishing.

Better yet, most of the accessories are multi-functional thanks to their wobbly shape, meaning they can be used to hold USB wires, paperclips, or whichever items are keeping you from being well-ordered at work.

Credit: Bene

You might be asking: why haven’t we just been designing like this all along? Well, firstly, 3D printing has only recently become somewhat affordable. Secondly, humans historically haven’t been so great at foresight – especially in regards to plastic and its negative environmental impact.

Fear not, bFRIENDS is learning from that mistake by designing their entire range with end of life in mind from the start. Using mono-material and mono-colour for each product in the collection ensures that the materials can be used again and again to produce brand new products later on.

The line was only recently launched, however a take back and recycle program is already in the works. But with a range of 10 standard colours to choose from and custom colours available on demand, most people probably wouldn’t be in a hurry to return them just yet.

The colour palette is very of-the-moment, managing to be eye catching without being garish or distracting, and the product silhouettes add a fun and playful element to what might be a traditionally boring office layout.

With all that in mind, the trio of companies Bene, Pearson Lloyd, and Batch.Works seem to be onto something here. In fact, together, they’re killing the game – it’s giving The Powerpuff Girls: Sustainable Edition.

Okay, can you tell I really want a bFRIENDS desk accessory now? Let’s hope my boss is reading this…


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