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Environmental Impact

We operate as an environmentally responsible model manufacturer

Environmental Sustainability

We believe in operating as an environmentally responsible model manufacturer for our community and industry. Spectrum has received the GSA Evergreen Award for our commitment to the pursuit of environmental sustainability through proactive waste prevention, material recovery and recycling, environmentally conscious product design, and procurement. In 2010, Spectrum achieved the prestigious Indoor Advantage certification from SCS, which certifies compliance with rigorous indoor air quality emissions. Aside from qualifying for LEED projects, Spectrum provides a safer and healthier work environment for students, workers and end users.

  • • Waste Prevention
  • • Recovered Materials
  • • Recycling Efforts
  • • Environmental Design & Procurement
  • • Model Facility & Environmental Stewardship

Waste Prevention

Spectrum is positively impacting waste prevention efforts by implementing several company-wide recycling initiatives, including recovering post-manufacturing materials and sourcing recycled and recyclable raw materials. Additionally, Spectrum promotes environmentally conscious practices in all corporate activities.

Recovered Materials

• Through the implementation of powder-coating technology as a replacement for solvent-based finishes, the combined air emissions of volatile organic compounds, VOCs, have been reduced by 90% since 1998.
• The use of powder-coating finishes has reduced the combined volume of cleanup solvent and hazardous waste by 50% since 1998. Much of the non-hazardous powder-coating residue is reclaimed and reused.
• The 1998 implementation of the powder-coating line has allowed us to eliminate the accumulation of a recyclable hazardous waste wash solvent that had averaged 7400 lbs. per year.
• In 2007, Spectrum introduced a new, self-contained cleaning preparation wash line. The previous wastewater phosphorus discharge that had averaged 1,500 lbs. per year was eliminated.
• By changing a finishing material to a thinner product that is Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Hazardous Air Pollution Standard (HAPS) compliant, resulted in a 35% reduction per gallon of VOCs.
• A change to HAPS-compliant varnish topcoat solutions has resulted in a 10% reduction per gallon of VOCs.
• Post manufacturing hardwood trimmings, particleboard, agriculture board, and corrugation waste material are ground into a reusable fiber material. This material is used in the agriculture industry as animal bedding. Spectrum’s primary recipient of the reusable fiber material, Five Star Dairy in Elk Mound, WI, feeds the composted material through a digester system, which creates biogas energy. The anaerobic digesters provide Dairyland Power Cooperative with a competitively priced renewable energy source in their service territory. The biogas reduces the cooperative’s reliance on traditional fossil fuels while providing support to its distribution network.

Recycling Efforts

  • • Company-wide recycling efforts include the recovery of all company waste paper, aluminum cans, plastics, steel, metal, used printer cartridges, and computer components.
  • • Post-manufacturing steel scrap is recycled locally.
    • Post-manufacturing solid oak scrap is reused in other products and made available to employees for personal use.
  • • Recycling efforts and the grinding of post-manufacturing waste has resulted in a 75% reduction in landfill waste since 1999.
  • • Corrugation and packing materials from projects completed by Spectrum employed installers are returned and reused.
  • • Spectrum has entered into an agreement with Comprehensive Recycling for pick-up and distribution of plastic material recovered from manufacturing processes. Various plastic materials, including polyvinyl chloride and high-density polyethylene, that were discarded as solid waste are now being collected, sorted, and identified for recycling.

Environmental Design & Procurement

Throughout our raw material specification and procurement process, Spectrum identifies materials and suppliers that allow the company to manufacture new and existing products from recycled or recyclable material. Examples of the items being purchased and designed through this program include:

  • • Adhesives/materials that emit low or no levels of toxins to better the air quality for customers.
  • • Particleboard core material used in Spectrum’s product line is manufactured from material that’s produced from 49% to 96% recovered materials. Air emissions from the particleboard are third party certified to be within acceptable levels for formaldehyde.
  • • Medium Density Fiberboard, which is used in many Spectrum products, is produced from 15% to 30% recovered materials.
  • • Steel fasteners used in furniture and display assembly are 100% recyclable.
  • • Steel tubing and sheet steel used in furniture and display construction are 100% recyclable.
  • • Office chairs are composed of up to 25% recycled materials in structured plastic parts and up to 40% on non-structured parts.
  • • Foam cushions on chairs are made from advanced European formulas with no CFCs in the process.
  • • Plastic edge banding used on desks and carts is 100% recyclable.
  • • Glides and casters, when disassembled, are 100% recyclable.
  • • All chair components, with the exception of the foam padding, are recyclable.
  • • New product designs use components made from 100% recyclable plastic.
  • • Spectrum products are virtually 100% recyclable when their useful life is over.
  • • Corrugated material used in packaging products for shipping is manufactured from 35% post-industrial material and is 100% recyclable.
  • • The liner within Spectrum’s corrugated material is produced from material that contains at least 50% post-consumer materials and includes an excess of 5% manufactured waste.

Model Facility & Environmental Stewardship

By incorporating equipment changes, procedure improvements and raw material alternatives, Spectrum is being a responsible steward of this planet. Our commitment to environmental protection drives operations to continually strive for greater efficiency with minimal environmental impact.

In 2005, Spectrum acquired a new manufacturing facility and corporate headquarters. Included in the purchase was a three-acre wetland. All future expansion, re-modeling, and manufacturing will be done without impacting this wetland.

Spectrum installed a new environmentally conscious paint line and wash system in 2007. Because it operates at room temperature, we don’t need to heat the wash solution, which saves considerable energy. During the wash cycle, excess cleaning solution is captured, filtered, and recycled. Excess water isn’t wasted in the process. The cleaning solution contains no CFCs, HAPs, HHCs, aromatics, chrome, or ozone depleting substances.

The corporate use of electricity and natural gas during system-wide peak times has been reduced by 43% through a cooperative energy conservation agreement in 2007. Through the assistance and energy credits of a local municipality, existing lighting in the new facility was replaced in many areas with a high output reflectorized system. During recent building additions and construction projects, Spectrum installed energy efficient heating units.

Environmental Focus

Spectrum is committed to positively impacting the environment and aligning with suppliers who do not harm the environment. We will continue to pursue improvements through proactive waste prevention, material recovery and recycling. We’ll remain focused on conscious product design and procurement. Environmental sustainability is a perpetual initiative that will benefit our community, industry and environment.

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