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HiiCCE - Hamburg Institute for Innovation, Climate Protection, and Circular Economy

Develop a digital tool for material detection of furniture stock / CEO: Circular Economy Office

Description of the company

The Hamburg Institute of Innovation, Climate Protection and Circular Economy (HiiCCE) is a subsidiary company of SRH and a research institute affiliated to TUHH. We are pioneers, initiators and thought leaders when it comes to the circular economy. As an institute based in Hamburg, Germany, we offer our accumulated experience to provide outstanding competence of all players – in terms of the topic, science and real-life practice – for a sustainable circular economy. HiiCCE stands for a unique spectrum of services and, at the same time, a high degree of design and innovation abilities, both nationally and internationally.


HiiCCE is lead partner of the EU Interreg North Sea Project Circular Economy Office (CEO CIRCULAR ECONOMY OFFICE (CEO) CEO | Interreg North Sea). CEO focuses on the office furniture sector, which is currently characterized as a "take-make-dispose" industry. Every year, the EU discards 10.5 million tons of office furniture, with 80-90% of the furniture waste being incinerated or landfilled. The European market for office furniture amounts to approximately 9 billion euros. While circular models based on repair, remanufacturing, and reuse are increasing, they remain niche products. In 2021, 23% of newly produced office furniture was not recyclable, and 45% was only partially recyclable.
Circular strategies and solutions are needed to transform the sector towards circularity, this includes circular design and business models, such as product-as-a-service, but also refurbishment and remanufacturing of existing office furniture to expand its lifespan and safe resources, that would otherwise be needed to produce new office furniture (urban mining).


A huge variety of chairs, desks, shelves, etc. for offices and meeting rooms have been put on the market in the last decades. The materials differ as much as the production and construction technics. Some could be used better or easier for refurbishment, remanufacturing or recycling than others.
In order to utilise the available office furniture stock efficiently, it is important to better understand what office furniture is currently in use, may soon not be needed anymore and could be used for refurbishment and remanufacturing in the near future.

Aims of the project
The aim of this project is to develop a digital tool to get an overview of the current office furniture stock, in particular on used materials, components, disassemble potential, measurements, etc. identify all the materials used and the construction method which has been used to produce the furniture. This is a necessary step to allow a further usage (also in different) to the currently used task and scope. It should also be possible to collect the data and sort it towards different criteria. Therefor a screening of the current on the market available solutions for different aims and how the used tools can be combined to reach the goal of an effective screening with little effort. The Screening could be camara driven.


  • Market research on the which products are available on the marked and a SWOT analyse which parts could be used and how could be the advantages combined or adapted to reach our goals.
  • Develop a concept for a screening of an automatic recondensing of the used materials and construction methods to be able to determine the possibilities of a future usage.

Target group (students)

Students who are concerned about the environment and interested in developing a digital solution that will contribute to transforming the office furniture sector towards circularity. economy. We are looking for students who are creative, full of innovative tech-based ideas, like to dive deep into new thematic areas and prefer to work in teams. It would be great if you are enthusiastic and if you believe that positive change is possible!

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