Environmental Concerns & Statement
At Bucon Ltd, respecting the environment is more than just good business practice – it’s the right thing to do:
Bucon Ltd's concern for the environment goes back 30 years, forming one of the company’s core values.
Bucon Ltd is committed to continuously improving the way products are made and services are delivered to avoid damaging the environment.
We recognise our responsibility to:
1.Minimise waste by following the priority order of reduce, re-use, recycle, compost, incinerate, landfill
2.Implement technologies to use energy resources efficiently
3.Strive to surpass conformance to the law, compliance being the minimum standard by which we rate our performance
4.Use company resources to promote environmental knowledge and awareness to those involved in our business, including employees, customers, regulators, suppliers, neighbours and competitors
5.Review and improve the environmental impact of materials used in our products and processes
New product development
Bucon ltd adopts the attitude the longer products are used, the less often replacements are needed. Longevity simply means better management of the earth's resources, therefore producing and supplying quality products is one of our core values of trading.
The company's Environment representative is dedicated to developing ways to use more environmentally friendly materials and manufacturing processes for new product designs - without compromising quality. (This is also asked of by suppliers we use and buy products in from).
For example recycled content by weight of Herman Miller™ Aeron:
60.41 percent recycled content including steel, polypropylene, nylon GF, PET 30 percent GF, and aluminium.
Another example is the recycled content of the primary materials used in systems furniture
The steel used in filing, hanger frames, flipper units, and other systems components has a recycled content of about 30 percent.
Four vertical surface fabric lines are made from 100 percent recycled polyester.
The recycled content of plastic in seating and systems furniture is 10-15 percent, depending on the part.
The particle board used in wood worksurfaces contains 90 percent recycled content.
Recycled drinks bottles are the primary source of plastic for the Aeron seat shells. Each shell uses approximately 36 two-litre bottles.
Recycling Herman Miller™ products Most Herman Miller™ products and components are recyclable. In general, parts made of polypropylene, steel, or aluminium are 100 percent recyclable. That means for example that the Ethospace frame, which is made of steel, is 100 percent recyclable.
Some products contain a mixture of materials. The Aeron chair's™ Pellicle material is a combination of fibreglass and plastic and therefore difficult to recycle. But the Pellicle makes up only about four percent of the chair. Other components - such as the steel tilt assembly, pneumatic cylinder, polymer frame, and aluminium base and arms - are recyclable.
Recyclability is influenced by how easily a product can be taken apart so that its components can be separated by material. Guidelines developed by the Earth Friendly Design Task Force ensure products are easily disassembled, making them easier to recycle.
Fabrics and finishes
Choices for colours, materials, and finishes (CMF) on new products are influenced by many factors ranging from technical to subjective, including customer preferences and environmental impact. In some areas, technology has not caught up with the demand for earth-friendly materials. For example, while the shorter fibres found in recycled yarn are suitable for vertical surfaces, they do not meet Bucon Ltd standards for durable upholstery fabric. Eventually, many of the colours, materials, and finishes that are common today will be phased out in favour of alternatives that will be both earth-friendly and high-quality.
Powder coat finds new application
For some time now, powder coat finishes have been used on metal parts with great success. Powder coat finishes on wood, however, are new. At Bucon Ltd, the process is being used on fibre board components featuring soft, rounded edges. Earth-friendly benefits of this technique include the elimination of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), ease of product renewal and recycling, and a more streamlined manufacturing process.
Water-based stains replace solvents
A switch from solvent- to water-based stains on all standard veneers in the robotic spray line of our main suppliers, UK has yielded greater colour consistency and a reduction in VOCs. This change is in keeping with the process used at for example Herman Miller™'s US factories and with our goal to be the first furniture manufacturer using a complete water-based veneer finishing system. This process is also being evaluated for special stain-to-match orders.
Autodeposition: a new alternative in metal finishing
A new, state-of-the-art metal finishing system uses autodeposition to apply a high-quality finish on metal components. The process - which uses chemical reactions instead of electrical energy to apply a coating containing no toxic or heavy metals - has fewer stages, requires less equipment, and uses less energy. Autodeposition also minimises solid waste and yields very low or no VOCs.
Several factors affect the environmental impact of fabrics. These include recyclability, recycled content, the process used to dye the fabric, and how it is cut and/or fitted to the piece of furniture. To be recyclable, fabric must be composed of a single material. Most of the current fabric offerings already meet this criterion. The exceptions are wool, which is blended with nylon for strength and durability, and Pellicle, the material used on the Aeron chair. Additionally, Bucon Ltd where possible avoids textiles with additives or backings that might render the fabric unrecyclable.
Knit-to-size fabrics on chairs offer another earth-friendly benefit in that they minimise fabric waste. Rather than being cut and sewn, these upholstery fabrics are knitted to the desired shape. Additionally, some fabrics are solution dyed, a process yielding less waste than other colouring techniques. Streamlined processes like these also result in energy savings.
Sustainable wood supplies
Since 1990’s, Bucon Ltd has purchased woods coming only from sustainable supplies. To qualify, the wood cannot be harvested faster than it is being replenished.
Bucon Ltd manufacturing processes have long been the target of initiatives to reduce, reuse, and recycle. These efforts relate to five primary areas of waste management: solids, hazardous materials, air emissions, water emissions, and energy efficiency. Great endeavours have been made in reducing waste volume in every category.
Solid waste management
Total solid waste is any material that does not become part of a product. It includes materials that are reused, recycled, or shipped to landfills.
Recycling manufacturing waste:-
- PVC vinyl edging is returned to the supplier to be re-extruded into new edging.
- Paper is recycled into bathroom tissue.
- Work surface 'blanks' are recycled into shelf components.
Reducing manufacturing waste
The primary method of reducing manufacturing waste is through returnable packaging. Rugged, reusable plastic bins, rather than disposable packaging, are used to ship materials from supplier. Returnable packaging has also yielded other benefits, including less damage to shipped goods and increased efficiency and productivity in the manufacturing area.
Hazardous waste management
Reducing the use of hazardous materials in manufacturing is the first strategy in lowering hazardous waste. Hazardous-material use has been steadily declining as new manufacturing technologies and techniques have been implemented. For example, the conversion from liquid paint to powder coat in metal plants throughout the corporation has resulted in significant reductions because clean-up solvents are no longer used. Products in custom colours that cannot be formulated with powder coat are finished with liquid paint. And in another change, solvent-based adhesives have been largely replaced with water-based alternatives.
Control of air emissions
Bucon Ltd has been tackling the problem of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through several measures including:
- The conversion from liquid paint to powder coat on metal components
- The conversion from solvent-based to water-based adhesives
- The introduction of powder coat on wood
- The introduction of autodeposition on metal
- The use of paint heaters
- A reduction in the amount of solvents used for clean-ups
Packaging and delivery
Packaging and transportation practices have been modified to minimise waste and save valuable resources. Since the early 1990s, some suppliers have committed to packaging alternatives that fulfill one or more of these criteria: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Returnable pallets and packaging have largely replaced one-time packaging. That which is not returnable is recyclable. These changes to packaging have yielded several additional benefits, including improved quality of parts, improved safety, better space utilisation, greater trailer capacity, and improved ergonomics.
Cardboard boxes, once the predominant packaging material for products bound for customers, have been largely replaced by two other packaging methods: blanket wrapping and shrink wrapping. The company goal is to blanket wrap 80 percent of all products that are direct-shipped.
As a product passes through a revolving ring, plastic film is stretched and wrapped around it. Because products are visible during transport, there is less damage during shipping. At a customer's installation site, stretch-wrapped products are easier to identify and open, and there is little waste cluttering the site. Packaging disposal is easier and less costly because there is less material and the film is recyclable.