Naples, once known as a city of pizzas, piazzas and breathtaking views, developed a slightly less desirable reputation over recent years – as an area whose waste management struggles have left streets literally piled with trash.
A dense population and little landfill space, coupled with political mismanagement, poor regulations and the involvement of organized crime syndicates, has made disposal a nightmare.
Garbage collection stopped altogether in 2007 and 2008, and city roadways quickly became flooded with household waste. Despite Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s efforts to divert waste into a new incinerator and additional dumping sites, trash continues to pile up.
But Aldo Savarese, a Naples-area resident on a mission to redeem the reputation of Southern Italy, is keeping loads of city trash off the streets – and doing some pretty inventive things with it!
Sabox Green – the recycling company Savarese founded in 2004 to recycle old paper and re-distribute it in Naples as zero-miles paper and cardboard – is changing up its products to include some seriously cool furniture and design objects, reports Urban Italy.
Along with a booming business for recycled boxes, the company produces the fab and functional furniture entirely out of cardboard Naples-area residents throw away.
“Sabox mixes the best and worst Italy has to offer: the garbage of the Naples area, which shamed us, and the design, creativity, and resilience we are known for,” Savarese told Bloomberg Businessweek on Thursday.
The DIY furniture, which is delivered as a kit and assembled after delivery, may be made from 100 percent recycled cardboard but is surprisingly comfy, strong and durable, the company said. The chair, which weighs little more than 4 pounds, can support up to 600 pounds, the company told Urban Italy in August.
Although the company is headquartered in Nocera Superiore, a town 25 miles southeast of Naples with far fewer waste disposal issues, Savarese hopes to do his part to clean and green the whole area, he told Bloomberg Businessweek. Making a ton of cardboard from recycled paper requires about a third of the energy of virgin cellulose, the company said.
The chic furniture designs may not clear the streets of Naples, but it’s definitely a start. Stylish Sabox furniture pieces – like these made with partner designer Generoso Parmegiani – are available online and priced below $200.