Blue Marmalade – creating Eco-friendly products


Trent and Tom set up Blue Marmalade because they believe good design can help us all live a more enjoyable, less wasteful life. How? By creating eco-friendly products that are as interesting, witty, challenging and full of life as our customers. Products that people not only want to buy, but that we know they’ll want to keep for a long time. And by doing it all in a way that keeps our own footprint as light as possible – local production, sustainable materials, all production cast-offs re-used and products flat-packed for transport, yet straightforward to put together.

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Blue Marmalade is an Edinburgh-based product and furniture design consultancy that is committed to eco-friendly design. As it was established by two cabinet-makers, Jennings and Tom Marsh, you’d expect the group to be a firm advocate of natural materials like wood, but all its products are manufactured from man-made materials, primarily polypropylene, a traditional plastic.

‘Our research showed that polypropylene is the lowest energy-using product,’ says Jennings. ‘More than 90 per cent of commercially available wood comes from overseas. When you consider the energy and resources used to transport that to the UK, the energy needed to kiln fire and season wood and then the machines that convert it to a useable material, you realise it is a highly inefficient material.’

In contrast, the group’s plastics are created in the UK as a by-product from the oil and gas industry and, says Jennings, take just four minutes of electricity to convert into a finished product. Post use, products are 100 per cent recyclable because there are no screws, varnishes or glues involved. Used wisely then, it seems man-made materials may now have the edge in ecological terms.

In high-use commercial areas, the durability of plastics has always been an additional benefit and man-made materials are now fighting back on the aesthetics front too. Vinyl flooring company Bolon’s range of woven flooring includes a selection of products designed to resemble natural materials like coconut and sisal. Available in tiles or sheets, it is more durable than natural material, but has the same sought-after feel and sound-absorption properties. Light also plays off its woven structure, radiating a warm, natural ambience.

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