Blog

ECO Leadership and Sustainability

At AWM we have a goal to be leaders when it comes to sustainability practices in furniture manufacturing.  It’s a challenging goal and not without cost but it’s one we are committed to. Our new facility we are building integrates as much innovation as possible and we aim to be totally off grid in the future. The base build is 90% Australian made using Australian materials with sustainability conscious practices.

We place great emphasis on the complete life cycle of a product and its sustainability factors.

Looking behind the scenes here at AWM our sustainability practices are initiated throughout the company and extend right down through our supply chain. Sustainability and the macro effect are obviously the sum of all our contributions no matter how small they may seem. To this end we also view the practices of our whole supply chain as part of our sustainability philosophy. We carefully source suppliers who share the same attitudes on sustainability as ourselves.

It can be a time consuming and painstaking process with costs attached but we feel it is one that is increasingly necessary and something we feel strongly about. Here is a snapshot of some of the initiatives we practice at AWM, many of which are carried out on a weekly and even daily basis by AWM employees.

 

Plastics: We have a target of reducing our use of plastics by 50% in 2021 and even further beyond that. Plastics such as Polystyrene and Styrofoam are all organised for recycling on a weekly basis.

  1. Plastic bags: All our chair bags are 100% recycled. The argument of plastic bags v paper bags is an interesting debate and one we have monitored closely. According to our research the use of recyclable plastic bags is far more sustainable than using paper bags made essentially from trees. Not that we would wrap a whole chair in a paper bag of course!
  2. Aluminium and other metals: All off cuts from our metalwork shop whether raw or powder-coated are sent for recycling. This includes old brackets, old workstation legs, posts, rails and castings. Other workstation componentry is fully stripped down in house and segregated accordingly for recycling. Chair components such as gas lift columns are also segregated for recycling.
  3. Board: Excess board is saved so we can use them to build packing crates to ship our furniture interstate. We also re-use the coversheets our suppliers use to protect melamine and laminate boards they are delivered with. We also use board suppliers who reclaim their board and process into their own recycling initiative.
  4. Timber: All solid timber off cuts from wooden table and workstation legs are saved for recycling and even our sawdust is collected for recycling.
  5. Cardboard: All cardboard is recycled including office paper on a weekly basis by our own staff. Cardboard boxes are broken down and compacted into bins and taken to local recycling plants.
  6. Glass and Acrylic: As with much of the board we use glass and acrylic is segregated and sent back to our suppliers for recycling.
  7. Acoustic screen panels: Acoustic panel products are widely used in workspace furniture producing a lot of waste. Echo panel by Woven Image is a fully recycled product that we regularly use and hence we know can be fully recycled. We also use offcuts as packing fillers for shipping.
  8. Factory practices: Our factory staff wear non-disposable masks that have changeable filters to reduce wastage as well as fully enclosed ear protection.
  9. Office and e-waste: At AWM we also have an office and showroom where we employ best practices to reduce our carbon footprint. Consumables such as ink toner cartridges are replaceable, we print on both sides of paper on eco-settings and all our redundant office equipment is sent to e-waste recycling plants.

 

Always under review with many problems yet to solve.

We are always mindful that sustainability is a continuous and evolving process and is always under review. We monitor our efforts to identify areas where we can improve and keep abreast of emerging technologies and wider initiatives to see how we can better contribute locally and globally. Hence, there are still many areas that have proven difficult to resolve. Shrink wrap is just one product we have yet to find a satisfactory solution for. It is a common problem throughout many industries. We use it for packaging of goods when they are to be shipped and there is just no better substitute currently.

A social and corporate responsibility.

Whilst each of us individually can contribute by being mindful day to day as an Australian Manufacturer and Company we feel we have a social responsibility to lead by example. This also translates into how our employees see the initiatives and philosophy we promote and practice every day and we hope carries through into their own lives away from work.

 Find out more about AWM.

If you would like to know more about AWM, our products and services and how we support over 120 local businesses within our supply chain as well as how we support and develop indigenous Australians with our AWM Amaroo arm please contact: sales@awm.net.au

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