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Sustainability She-roes: The woman who's upcycling furniture

Portia Tan does it better than most carpenters - she's upcycling furniture, along with the guys from Roger & Sons, so that Earth can last a little longer
 

Portia Tan, head of branding and marketing at Roger & Sons – an upcycling and wood recycling company in Singapore – shapes the sustainability conversation in a different way, through furniture.

According to her, buying well-made furniture goes a long way, and it isn’t just about the brand or price; it’s about quality. “Don’t buy chipboard products – the material flakes, and woodworkers can’t do much with it. On the other hand, restoring solid wood is much easier. You can sand it down and refinish it – it’ll look brand new.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

190404 – Workshop

A post shared by Roger&Sons (@rogerandsons) on

She adds that dumpster diving to repurpose scrap wood can be a fun weekend activity.

“The guys (from Roger & Sons) and I went dumpster diving and found a bunch of wood that used to be a boat. Balau is a really hardy wood as it can withstand the elements. We couldn’t waste it, so we refurbished it and made a table with it,” she explains, adding that purchasing second-hand furniture is always a sustainable option.

“Buy less stuff . It’s as simple as that. The less you consume, the less stress you put on the planet.”

The 25-year-old is worried about the environment, for good reason: “The tipping point for me was a snorkelling trip to Phuket in 2016. The corals were all bleached and there weren’t any fish. Shortly after, I watched the documentary A Plastic Ocean. I was horrified. That’s when I knew I had to take action, however inconsequential it might seem at first.”

Every effort counts.

She’s gone plastic-free, and for those who find it intimidating, she suggests a way to start: Don’t throw out your recycling until the end of the month.

“You’d be surprised at the rate at which it accumulates. Because of that, I became aware of the amount of trash I was generating, and that packaging is quite unnecessary,” she says, when asked what motivated her to buy less. She adds: “If you buy less, you save more money.”

ALSO READ: SUSTAINABILITY SHE-ROES: THE ZERO WASTE HEROINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Image credits

Photography VERONICA TAY

Art Direction SHAN

Styling KARIN TAN

Hair & Makeup  JYUE LOW/ THE MAKE UP ROOM 

Outfit BIMBA Y LOLA

This article was first published in the magazine's April issue.

 

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