Mental Notes On Metal Desks

Another point that makes the metal desk a tougher sell is the advent of more sustainable and environmentally friendly materials. Particle board, pine, oak and aluminum–while they held the majority of the market share years ago–have seen a decline recently as newer, greener products enter. In an effort to reduce their ecological footprint, consumers gravitate more toward these products.

Asked about a metal desk versus environmentally friendly materials, Brad Miller, Director of Communications and Government Affairs for the Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association International, states, “It is hard to say how a metal desk will fare … [I]f such a desk is built using best practices for material usage and energy sources, and is able to be recycled at the end of its useful lifespan, it may be as ’green’ as many other products.

Ultimately, customers have to judge best value. While durability and a good price have long been high on the shopping list for end-users, there now is an easy way for customers to gauge the sustainability of a product.”

While admittedly I have a fondness for old metal desks, I do not dream about or hold my family hostage to my affliction. Therapy has never been suggested by co-workers, nor has the thought of forming a non-profit group to save these “giant strides” ever crossed my mind.

So, I feel comfortable saying that if you know of such a desk in your organization, or better yet sit behind such a desk, treasure it. Get out of your chair, and sit on it, slide the drawers in and out, and let it sing. Like the manual air-pump and paper registration (the latter I do not miss), soon the metal desk will be but a memory.

Curiously, though, as I push back from my new-old desk in my plastic and cloth-fabric chair and close my thoughts on this article, I can’t help but think something is missing. I’ll save my explorations for a fitting chair for another day.

Steve Yeskulsky is a CPRP currently working in the parks and recreation industry in Sarasota, Fla. He can be reached via e-mail at

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