A lot of people are interested in repurposing materials from the waste stream as furniture. One reason for this is environmentalism. Compared with building a wooden chair from a living tree that must be transported from Borneo or wherever, recycling a wooden pallet available locally does much less damage to the atmosphere and biosphere. Another environmental benefit comes from reducing the amount of waste going to landfill. This is not such an issue with wood (which is harmless to the environment), but for things such as rubber tires, it becomes important. Millions of tires are burned every year, releasing all sorts of nasty, toxic molecules into the air. It is far better to turn them into funky chairs.
A second reason repurposed furniture is so popular is the D.I.Y., or punk, or rustic feel of these pieces. As you can see in the gallery below, when a piece shows how it was made, the ingenuity of making something useful out of trash shines forth. This grounds the piece in the real world – the world of industry and waste streams and the familiar materials we are constantly surrounded by.