The cornerstone of IWC’s business philosophy is an unyielding commitment to the environment. We believe that stewardship for both our employees and nature is of paramount importance. We know that our actions today have far-reaching implications for future generations. IWC staff diligently pursue opportunities to continually move the company toward greater environmental consciousness and accountability.
A passionate, ecologically-conscious management team of outdoorsmen and wilderness advocates guides IWC toward greater efficiency in the use of natural resources and also guides IWC’s employees to be better stewards. Our commitment to green manufacturing has remained strong as the company has expanded. IWC has continually incorporated new sustainable materials in our products and energy efficient equipment in our manufacturing facility. IWC is a founding member of the non-profit Sustainable Furnishings Council and has achieved inclusion in the US EPA’s Green Supplier Network.
Purchasing & Sourcing Locally
IWC is dedicated to working with suppliers who have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability and low impact raw materials. The majority of IWC’s raw materials are sourced within a 75 mile radius of our facility. We rarely have to look further due to the strength of the Western Michigan manufacturing base.
IWC has a cost effective, stable, and reliable supply chain. Our sound relationships with our suppliers foster loyalty and secures valuable support that often goes beyond the terms and conditions of the order. Our suppliers are critical in the development of new products. Our focus is on maintaining healthy, mutually beneficial relationships through collaboration.
Moving Manufacturing Toward Sustainability:
Adhesives: All lamination at IWC is accomplished using mostly water borne PVA adhesive. This class of adhesive contains zero VOCs. In addition, the hot press used in our lamination process uses pressurized hot water. Most hot presses use oil as the heating medium, which degrades over time and must be changed every few months creating more waste.
Finishing: IWC purchases only HAPS (hazardous air pollutant) compliant (very low VOC) finishes or utilizes water borne finishes for our wet coat (wood finishing) operations. These finish products have a greatly reduced VOC content which in turn is extremely valuable in the reduction of greenhouse gases.
Our finishing ovens run on electricity, come up to temperature within 5 seconds and use light waves to cure finishes.
Wood Panel Products: IWC is California CARB Phase II compliant. California’s Air Resources Board regulation is one of the most stringent regulations in effect to limit formaldehyde emissions from composite wood products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is developing a national regulation based on California’s regulation which is expected to be in effect soon.
Particulates: In 2011, IWC acted to further protect the health of our production team members and greatly improve the air quality within our facility by investing in a centralized dust collection system which pulls particulate matter from our machinery and stores it in bins outside of the building. This material is collected by a local recycling company.
Reducing, Recycling & Reusing:
IWC recycles. We send out one 3-yard dumpster of trash (food stuffs and non recyclables) per week, everything else gets recycled.
For example, during 2012 IWC recycled:
- 256 pounds of aluminum,
- 204 pounds of steel,
- 64 pounds of tungsten carbide bits
- 8,388 pounds of PVC.
Chemicals: At IWC, we reduce our chemical waste by mixing only the minimum amount of materials needed for use that day. Catalyzed finishes and glues can have a limited working life, generally no more than four hours; by being aware of our production needs and grouping like products together, we are able to greatly reduce the waste stream.
Wood waste: By utilizing cut to size programs, we are able to utilize what would have been offal (trash) from one product and use it as raw material for other products. All wood waste is recycled by a local recycling firm, including our sawdust. In addtion, all CNC carbide tooling used in production is recycled. All metal used, even our razor blades, is sent to a local recycling center.
Packaging: Nearly all of the packaging material that IWC receives in the course of business is recycled. From cardboard to skids to foam spacers, anything that can be recycled or reused is given a second life and is frequently used repeatedly. More than half of all product shipped from IWC is blanket wrapped. This means absolutely no packaging cost or onsite (job site) packaging removal cost for this type of shipment. This is better for the environment and better for our customer’s budget objectives.
Our plant uses F-Bay fluorescent lighting. These high efficiency lights consume 30% less energy than traditional metal halide lighting while maintaining 89.1% foot candle output (compared to metal halide’s 70%) over the life of the bulbs, which is a 20% longer lifespan.
IWC’s winter heating is handled by IR heaters. IR heaters use approximately 25% less energy than conventional forced air heating methods.
In the winter we warm our facility with the heat from our equipment. The air compression systems which drive all of the pnematic tools throughout the IWC plant generate a considerable amount of heat. This heat is vented inside the building during the winter months. This simple step saves us thousands of dollars on winter heating costs, and saves a lot of natural gas.