Innovative Cardboard Furniture for Kids Facilitates Recycling

Totally Recyclable and Creative Furniture for Kids Made from Cardboard

The Cardboard Guys

As parents with young children know, kids quickly outgrow stuff. Usually we think of clothing items, which can be given away or resold through consignment to second hand clothing shops, but how about children’s furniture? Overall, around 9.8 million tons of furniture arrive at U.S. landfills each year, and a group of entrepreneurs is looking at how to stop stem that flow. One option, of course, is the emergence of specialized textile recycling operations such as mattress recyclers.

Now these entrepreneurs, The Cardboard Guys, have thought outside of the box to create a new line of recyclable cardboard children’s furniture.

“With kids being the only demographic that physically grow out of their furniture, we believe this recyclable alternative made from corrugated fiberboard solves a real problem.” says Jordan Kepler, Co-Founder of The Cardboard Guys. The start-up offers a a Kids Imagination Desk & Chair, which they describe as “fun, functional, and eco-friendly.” The chair, by the way, is designed  to hold 500 lbs., but the company recommends not going over 200 lbs.  The product ships in a flat-packed, format, and easily snaps together, requiring no adhesives in assembly.

The genesis of the Cardboard Guys was a senior project by Jordan Kepler and Justin Farr at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The duo set out to build furniture made completely from cardboard (more properly, fiberboard).

Studying industrial technology, the pair was well versed in packaging in general, and cardboard in particular, that wonderful material they point out that was patented back in December 1871 by Albert Jones of New York City. You can see that patent at this link.

Kepler and Farr successfully created cardboard furniture items that snapped together with ease, that could hold a lot of weight, and which was 100 percent recyclable.

The material is about 60 percent recycled content.

The next step for the young entrepreneurs was being accepted at a start-up incubator at Cal Poly for graduates known as the SLO HotHouse Accelerator program.  That’s when Jake Disraeli, the program’s coordinator, took notice. Jake came aboard as the third Cardboard Guy, and the team carried on with their objective of creating “the coolest and most environmentally friendly children’s furniture on the market.”

The group has worked closely with its target market to find the best fit, benefiting from feedback from over 200 parents and children, while displaying at the children’s museum, YMCA and other local events.

Like most entrepreneurs, however, The Cardboard Guys need more resources to be able to produce their innovative children's furniture efficiently. Commenting that their present process for manufacturing the furniture is very slow and expensive, they say that they require a significant investment. With this in mind, the recent college graduates have launched a Kickstarter campaign they hope will raise $25,000. The campaign began on February 24, and four days later, they are half way to their goal.

Backers of the Kickstarter campaign for The Cardboard Guys will be able to pre-order the Kids Imiagination Desk & Chair at a discounted price, as well as receive other tokens such as a miniature and life-size verson of Cardboard Corey, the mascot of The Cardboard Guys.


For what it is worth, a quick web search reveals that there is corrugated fiberboard furniture for big people too, such as Chairigami, located in New Haven, CT.

According to The Cardboard Guys, Frank Gehry is credited as pioneering cardboard furniture with his "Wiggle Side Chair" in 1972, along with other pieces of his “Easy Edges” furniture line.