Sustainability & Material Recovery

BBF (Bush Business Furniture) Fits

Environmental Stewardship

At BBF, we are proud to be good stewards of the environment, taking care to be environmentally conscious from the beginning to the end of our manufacturing process.

  • BIFMA Level®:  Bush Industries Inc. has received level® 1 certification for several product lines manufactured at our Jamestown N.Y. facility.
  • CARB:  All BBF products are compliant with CARB (California Air Resource Board) standards for reduced formaldehyde emissions.
  • EPP Downstream Program (Composite Panel Association):  More than 50% of our panels are purchased from EPP sources; board is 100% pre- or post-consumer recycled.
  • Energy Reduction:  Bush is focused on reducing electricity consumption and improving machinery efficiency.
  • Landfill Reduction:  We are diverting plastic waste away from landfills and improving recycling of plastic, cardboard, tin and scrap metal in our manufacturing processes.
  • Corporate Recycling:  Programs in our corporate offices have greatly improved recycling of plastic, paper and aluminum cans.
  • Special Sustainability Teams:  Tasked with improving efficiency and reducing waste in our manufacturing processed.

Most of the materials used in the manufacture of our products are comprised of recycled fiberboard and particleboard. However, materials such as steel, aluminum and plastics also need to be considered when evaluating end of ownership alternatives for BBF products.


All BBF products are specifically designed for a long life span. Our products are tested to withstand 40 hour+ work weeks and are backed by Limited Lifetime and 10 Year warranties. However, when the furniture has reached the end of its useful life, recycling and reclaiming the materials used to make it is a much better option than simply sending the furniture to a landfill. See below for ideas and suggestions on how to recycle BBF products.

Particle Board

Engineered wood – including particleboard and medium density fiberboard, or MDF – offers a number of advantages over solid wood.

  • Particleboard is made up of natural wood chips, shavings and sawdust that are held together with adhesives (92% wood and 8% resin) 
  • More than 95% of a tree can be used for the production of particleboard (versus 63% for solid lumber)
  • Benefits of use include reduced cost, long term durability/stability and resistance to warping and cracking

Each year thousands of tons of office and domestic furniture made of particleboard are being thrown away by their users. Here are alternatives for reusing/recycling products made of particleboard:

  • Disassemble products, install braces under the boards and use them as shelving.
  • Offer used items through online resources like Freesharing.org.
  • Donate! Contact charities that accept donations of used furniture and whole boards.
  • Get in touch with local schools, which may appreciate furniture donations.
  • They may also welcome offerings of boards for wood shop classes or for use in building theater sets.
  • Take your disassembled furniture to an organic waste recycling center. These facilities often accept engineered wood, unless it has been too heavily treated to be recycled.

Steel  

Steel recycling locator: http://www.recycle-steel.org/

  • Steel is a unique material because new steel almost always contains recycled steel content. Each year, millions of tons of pre- and post-consumer steel products, including used steel cans, appliances, automobiles and construction materials, are recycled by steel mills and used to produce new steel.1
  • The steel industry has been actively recycling for more than 150 years, in large part because it is economically advantageous to do so. It is cheaper to recycle steel than to mine iron ore and manipulate it through the production process to form new steel. Steel does not lose any of its inherent physical properties during the recycling process, and has drastically reduced energy and material requirements compared with refinement of iron ore. The energy saved by recycling reduces the annual energy consumption of the industry by about 75%, which is enough to power eighteen million homes for one year.2
  • More steel is recycled each year than all other materials combined. Two out of every three pounds of new steel are produced from old steel.3

When recycling the steel components of BBF products, disassemble all products and their individual parts as completely as possible, gather all metal pieces and then take them to a scrap metal dealer that will recycle the metal and, ultimately, ship raw steel back to mills for re-use.

Aluminum

Recycling Center Locator: http://earth911.com/

Aluminum recycling is the process by which scrap aluminum can be reused in products after its initial production. Recycling scrap aluminum requires only 5% of the energy used to make new aluminum. For this reason, approximately 31% of all aluminum produced in the United States comes from recycled scrap.  Recycling does not damage the metal’s structure; aluminum can be recycled indefinitely and still be used to manufacture any product for which new aluminum could have been used.4

  • Four pounds of raw bauxite ore is saved for every pound of aluminum that is reclaimed in the recycling process.
  • Aluminum is valuable. It’s still very much in demand, and recycled aluminum is just as useful and desirable as new. In fact, aluminum is the only recyclable material that depots can recoup their recycling costs with.
  • Making aluminum from bauxite ore is a dirty process—and burning it is even worse. By doubling our aluminum recycling rate, we could cut a million tons of pollutants per year out of the atmosphere.5

As with steel, the absolute best option for used aluminum products and scrap aluminum is to send it to a recycling plant, so the metal can be used to make new products and materials.

Plastics

Recycling Center Locator: http://www.plasticsrecycling.org

The plastic recycling process begins from the time the virgin plastic is made, all the way through to the end, when it begins again as a new product after the recycling process. Most virgin plastics are made from natural gas, ethylene gas, or as a by-product of petroleum development. Regardless of the method used, this process takes a lot of energy to complete and requires a lot of resources that aren’t necessary in the plastic recycling process.6

  • Today, 80% of Americans have access to a plastics recycling program.
  • Recycling 1 ton of plastic saves 7.4 cubic yards of landfill space.  
  • Recycling used plastic products uses 20%-40% less energy than manufacturing new plastic.
  • Recycling plastic reduces greenhouse gases.

There simply is no other viable option. Recycling old plastic makes good sense – sending it to a landfill does not.

Sell/Refurbish

Sometimes refurbishing your existing BBF furniture with new fabrics or finishes or adding new components can extend the life of your furniture investment.  Selling the piece through a local dealer, online auction or even lawn sale will be beneficial for both your pocketbook and the environment.

Charitable Donation

There are quite a few charities that accept furniture.  If your furniture is in good shape, why not donate it!

Due to the fact that the lifespan of BBF products may often be longer than the customer requires, repurposing the furniture is an ideal option. Many agencies accept donations and some will even pick up the donated items.  The organizations above are just a few that assist in giving products a second life and keeping them out of a landfill.

Additional Resources: 

Footnotes: 

  1. staging.recycle-steel.org 
  2. staging.wikipedia.org/wiki/ferrous_metal_recycling   
  3. staging.sustainable-steel.org/recycling.html
  4. staging.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aluminum_recycling
  5. staging.professorshouse.com/your-home/environment/recycling/articles/recycling-aluminum-cans---Fun-Facts/
  6. staging.recyclingfactsguide.com/plastic-recycling-process/
Copyright 2010 BBF Bush Business Furniture