From Bamboo To Baltimore: 6 Ways Fully Is Focused On Earth-Friendliness
Nate Barber | April 23, 2018
At Fully we take reusing, recycling and repurposing pretty seriously. Even though we’re only one small company, we know we can all make a big impact by deliberately using the best materials, safest packaging, and finding ways to continually improve our carbon footprint. This Earth Day was a good opportunity to take stock of our commitment to the environment.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, earth consciousness is a way of life. It’s been a focus of Fully since the beginning. Still, we can always do more. Here are six things we’re doing now, and what we’re working towards to make Fully the most environmentally conscious company we can be.
How we reduce, reuse and recycle returned product
Like any product company, we receive returns. Often that returned product is perfectly usable, but due to dings or scratches, it’s not re-sellable. Rather than add to our local landfills, we donate as much product as possible to nonprofits.
Donations to Rebuilding Center
At our Portland Distribution Center, Linda, our Warranty Logistics Specialist, also gathers damaged bamboo tops (above) to donate to the Rebuilding Center, where they go on to live again as another desktop, flooring and materials for building and fine woodworking. Linda is also always rebuilding broken parts so they can enjoy a second life (left).
Environmentally friendlier desktops
Our bamboo Jarvis desk tops are made from sustainably harvested bamboo that matures in only 4-5 years, and outperform all emission standards on the market. So clean, you can eat your lunch directly from your desktop.
What's on the inside of our Laminate and Powdercoated tops? 100% post-consumer recycled high-density particle board core, that’s what. Each desktop is sealed by a Greenguard certified low-VOC (Volatile Organic Compound), zero urea-formaldehyde water-based adhesive.
The Capisco: awarded Best Recycled Plastic Product
Capisco chairs are made from recycled household plastic and shredded car bumpers, helping to reduce the 8 million metric tons of plastic that ends up in our oceans every year. Capisco Puls uses recycled household plastic in its parts and recycled car bumpers in its foam padding. These efforts made HAG’s Capisco the 2015 winner of Best Recycled Plastic Product. HAG's genuine commitment to sustainability isn’t just about sourcing sustainable materials, but refining their manufacturing process to make the chair and its parts easy to repair and replace, extending the life of your chair.
Capisco hasn't just been designed using recycled materials. To our knowledge, the Capisco is the only chair that's been designed and manufactured in a way it can be recycled back to raw material at the end of its life. This has been a novel concept in manufacturing and hopefully a good indicator our industry is moving towards similar improvements.
Packaging and materials
Whenever possible, we use recycled or recyclable materials for our packaging. We’re always developing our newer products to ship with minimal materials, and, where we can, 100% recyclable packaging. We always try to source brown, uncoated cardboard for packaging, which, unlike white cardboard, is more likely to come from post-consumer sources. Increasingly, we are using recycled cardboard wherever we can. We’ve also eliminated the use of VOC-containing glues in our packages, opting for staples to hold seams together.
In the US we’ve partnered with Give Back Box as a means of empowering our customers to re-use our packaging. Also, we’ve started printing instructions directly on the box on how to recycle our product’s packaging, as well as on our website.
Still, we could be doing more. We can always do better. We began reducing the amount of EPE (Expanded Polyethylene Foam) used to package our Jarvis. Instead, we are now using recycled cardboard wherever we can, which is light enough to keep our carbon footprint low, and sufficiently robust to protect our precious cargo.
Recycling is important, but we're always looking for ways we can reuse material before sending it to be recycled. We developed a relationship with a local business who takes our foam, cuts it up and uses it to package their own goods for shipping.
Lowering our carbon footprint
Thanks to our Baltimore Distribution Center, we've shortened delivery times and shipping distance to half of America. That means fewer trucks, and bi-coastal hubs to receive products from our partners in Europe and Asia. In addition to a much lower carbon footprint, we’re able to deliver products much faster. Win win!
Getting creative and thinking outside the box
Sometimes, creative solutions are a simple stroke of genius. Fully's Workplace Solutions whiz, Sarah Bronstein, also runs Recycollage Designs. All the material used in her art has been rescued from the landfill and turned into cool art stuff.
Kaiden Boehm, a local artist and handywoman, has been coming up with some pretty creative uses for some of our cardboard packaging and old bamboo desktops.
“I love making real things with cardboard and bamboo tops! This giant level (pictured above/below) is actually 6' long and was used as a goodwill token for constructive negotiations with Portland State University admin rallying for fair and level pay for the adjunct faculty.”
We’re setting the course to continually improve on our sustainability efforts this year:
- We will begin tracking our energy usage and carbon footprint across all three of our locations (Portland, Baltimore and San Francisco), and will find ways to mitigate our energy use.
- We are finding ways to purchase more supplies from locally based companies, especially fellow B Corp companies.
The best part is that choosing better materials and practices for Mother Earth doesn’t hinder our business. On the contrary, it’s a key to our continued, sustainable growth. We're playing the long game, making investments now, with the hope they’ll pay off in the future. It’s an uncertain path with no end in sight, but we’re pretty sure we’re on the right track. In the meantime, our customers can rest assured they’re getting desks, chairs and things that keep them moving that are also good for them, good for the environment, and are still affordable.