Christmas came early for Planet Earth last year when one office furniture corporation made its most recent waste-to-landfill announcement on December 18th. Haworth cubicles are now “greener” than ever. The company’s U.S. locations went from producing 4.6 million pounds of landfill-bound waste to zero pounds in 2009. Global facilities in Shanghai, China and Pune, India have also achieved this goal. Haworth’s remaining production plants are slated to complete their transition away from relying on landfills by 2011.
How Do They Do It?
Accomplishing the elimination of landfill waste generally requires a three pronged approach. Using lean manufacturing principles during production is one element of this strategy. It addresses ways to avoid wasting resources in the first place.
Reclaiming and recycling pre-consumer content that would normally be dumped is a closely related process. From 1993-2009, Haworth’s cubicle and office furniture plants recycled 206,000 tons of waste globally.
Haworth is also using waste-to-energy technology to recapture value from what might once have been considered trash. That’s how the company is currently handling the approximately 1 million pounds of waste they still produce in the U.S.
Other Haworth Sustainability Objectives
During a recent renovation of the corporate headquarters for Haworth, cubicles weren’t outfitted with typical dedicated phone lines. Instead, the company opted for wireless, internet based technology that lets employees move phones wherever they are needed. This eliminated the need to purchase 407,000 feet of copper cabling.
The building also boasts one of the largest living roofs in the U.S. Over 45,000 square feet of pre-planted modular green roofing units grace the top of One Haworth Center. Here, 11 species of succulent sedum thrive year round and absorb rainfall that would otherwise contribute to storm water runoff. The building is well insulated by this natural rooftop habitat, reducing energy costs to keep the interior environment at a comfortable temperature.
The company is also continuing to address emissions production. In the last 10 years, a move toward water based glues and finishes has dropped related air emissions by 70%. This makes Haworth cubicles not only more environmentally friendly to build but safer for use in the workplace. Check out the corporation’s full sustainability report here.