“Green” is now the general term that describes complex, multifaceted products and processes that reduce the carbon footprint on the environment. Marketers use simple branding labels to identify products as “eco-friendly”, recycled, green, or another environmentally friendly identifying logo. Green marketing has received a lot of attention. But what makes a product “green?”?
The responses of green manufacturing, dealers in kitchen and bath, and consumers to the question “green manufacturing” in the cabinet industry will differ dramatically. The market has become saturated with environmentally friendly products over the years. These include everything from building materials, home appliances, apparel, and grooming products. Consumers who are more educated and savvy about environmental protection and conservation are choosing to buy “green” products that have minimal effect on the environment.
Although an item might be labeled “green”, it cannot be denied that its environmental impact is real. Manufacturing uses raw materials, produces energy and emits carbon dioxide during the production process. Federal, state, and local governments have created regulatory boards to monitor and limit product emissions.
Environmental accountability is a key component of the cabinet industry’s established standards for sustainable cabinet manufacturing and environmental responsibility. The cabinet manufacturing industry has established five categories of compliance.
Air Quality – Reduction of hazardous air pollutants (HAP)
-Product resource management – Recycled and sustainable products.
-Process Resources Management – Documenting, establishing, and documenting recycling, energy conservation, and waste management programs.
-Environmental Stewardship: Documented commitment towards environmental quality and review of vendor practices.
-Community relations – Show your community involvement by volunteering and/or supporting charitable organizations.
International standards have been set for formaldehyde emissions from plywood, medium density fiberboard, and particleboard. Formaldehyde is a byproduct of natural metabolic processes, combustion and used as an adhesive in many building products, floor coverings and wall coverings. It has been shown to be toxic and can affect indoor air quality. The regulations require that materials with added urea formaldehyde be reduced in their use.
Alternatives to cabinet manufacturing for resource sustainability and environmental responsibility include the conversion of non-added hardwood plywood to non-added formaldehyde hardwood plywood, elimination of wood waste from landfills, recycling of hazardous waste into cleaning materials, and new material options such as Bamboo, reconstituted veneers, and Thermofoil Laminates as an alternative to staining and painting. Cabinet manufacturers have a greater impact on the environment and daily life by optimizing material, waste recycling, offering raw material options, and making it easier to finish.