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The Dutch company NoWa Kitchen presented its newest kitchen featuring only bio-based materials and a sustainable cradle-to-cradle design. A key enabler for the kitchen are plant-based polymers and materials brought to market by the University of Amsterdam’s spin-off company Plantics, stemming from a discovery made by chemists at the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences. The kitchen development was supported by the EU project Sustainable Wood Panels.
The plant based NoWa kitchen. Image: NoWa kitchen.

The first commercial NoWa (no waste) kitchen was recently installed on location in Arnhem, completing the pathway of design, manufacturing and marketing. NoWa kitchens are now commercially available. It represents a turning point for the kitchen industry, breaking with the unsustainable habit of produce-use-dispose. An average kitchen has a typical lifetime of some 15 years, after which it is dismantled, crushed and burned. All materials (and all the money...) just go up in smoke, emitting CO2 and pollutants. Focussing on cradle-to-cradle circularity, the NoWa kitchen is made from bio-based materials that can be reused, refurbished or recycled.

Bio-based materials and revolutionary design

Cross section of a kitchen panel, where the Plantics resin holds the wood chips together. Image: NoWa kitchen.

Traditional construction materials for kitchens contain formaldehyde-based resins to make them stable and durable. The construction and wood industry applies these oil-based resins in large volumes - over 5 million tonnes in Europe alone. They pose a burden to people and the planet as they can be toxic, are non-recyclable, and have a large CO2 footprint.

Since 2015, Plantics has developed a strong, 100% plant-based, recyclable and safe alternative resin that stems from a discovery in the laboratory of Prof. Gadi Rothenberg at the UvA’s Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences. Combining this resin with natural fibres such as hemp, wood and flax, Plantics has developed a range of sturdy and chic bi-based materials for a range of applications. In the EU-supported project Sustainable Wood Panels, the company works together with various industrial partners to realize and accelerate the market entry of wood panels containing the novel bio-resins as a binder.

The novel NoWa kitchen contains three types of Plantics materials: Particle board, chipboard and hemp composite. All these materials are 100% bio-based, non-toxic, and recyclable. The kitchen also features a revolutionary innovative design: It has an integrated back wall with plug-and-play installations, cutting the installation time down to a single day. The kitchen is modular and every part can be easily remounted and replaced. Through its smart design and process, NoWa is currently achieving a PCI (product circularity index) of 90%, which is the highest in the market.  The sustainable kitchen is especially suited for housing corporations and rental facilities, as it combines the advantages of low price, easy and quick installation, modularity and long product life.

NoWa plant based kitchen