Haworth, Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of office furniture and organic workspaces. The company has been family and privately-owned since 1948, and provides products including raised access floors, moveable walls, systems furniture, seating, storage and wood casegoods, among other products. Haworth, Inc. is dedicated to sustainability and in leaving the world a little cleaner, healthier, and more plentiful than how they found it. Haworth manages their assets with a vision towards the future. The objective of Haworth’s sustainable product and workspace design is to understand, reduce, and eliminate any negative environmental impact from the manufacturing, use, and end-of-life management.
Haworth achieves this by following in the life cycle thinking: creating products that encompass Design for the Environment (DfE) strategies. Materials for products are based on recycled content and/or recyclability at the end of its useful life. Any materials containing an existing infrastructure for recycling and products that are designed for easy dis-assembly are more likely to be recycled by the consumer.
While Haworth products are made from a variety of materials, the majority of the product’s weight is composed of one of three materials: steel, aluminum, and particleboard. Hawthorn recognizes how steel is the most widely recycled material on earth, thus Haworth products are designed to be as disassembled as possible. The steel components can be sent to a scrap metal dealer, who will recycle the scraps and send them back to the steel mill to be re-used. The same concept is used for the recycling the aluminum, particleboard, and plastics used in Haworth’s products. Virtually all of the materials used by Haworth can be recycled, although the practical challenges of recycling still prove to be a challenge.
As the recycling infrastructure grows in size and sophistication, the value of non-renewable materials will increase, attracting more people to recycle their products. And as the cost of landfills increase, soon it will be easier to find recycling companies able to recycle all the products that Haworth uses.