Bertch is certified by KCMA’s Environmental Stewardship Program (approved by NAHB), which is designed to protect our environment and encourage our industry to manage its resources. Dick Titus, Vice President of KCMA, states “The Environmental Stewardship Program is a step above other industry environmental programs because our guidelines reach beyond raw material and management to set standards for manufacturing and product processes in regards to air quality and formaldehyde use.” Bertch is re-certified each year based on criterias of Air Quality, Resource Management (Product), Resource Management (Process), Environmental Stewardship and Community Relations.
It is Bertch’s goal to not just meet the ESP requirements, but exceed them. For example, Bertch utilizes UV finishing materials that emit no air pollution. That means no Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) are released into your home from these products. Also, Bertch employs a Solvent Recycling Program, which allows solvents to be used over and over again as a cleaner without having to dispose of the materials.
Our corporate commitment to the environment extends beyond our facility. All associates understand responsible stewardship and what they do on the job impacts the environment. Bertch uses the following specific methods, among others, for minimizing the quantity of new materials purchased and amount of waste generated:
- In May 2007, achieved environmental certification through the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer's Association (KCMA) Environmental Stewardship Program.
- Bertch created an Environmental Compliance/Safety Director position in 1988.
- In 1996, an Environmental Compliance position, with environmental issues as the sole job function was created.
- Optimizer technology is used in a number of Bertch plants to maximize lumber utilization. This includes a computer program for calculating the most efficient way to cut lumber so as to get the greatest yield.
- In 1986, Bertch began a solvent recycling program. Currently, Bertch owns four 55-gal solvent recycling units. The recycled solvent is used for cleaning, then recycled again.
- Bertch utilizes UV finish materials in two plants. These materials emit no air pollution and generate little solid hazardous waste due to minimal amounts of volatile organic compounds within the materials.
- Bertch donates materials such as monitors, computers, wood products, and mirror scrap to a county program which distributes them to schools and other organizations.
- Bertch participated in the Governor’s Award program for waste reduction projects.
- Bertch served on the state's Earth Year 2000 Steering Committee.
- Bertch participated in waste-reduction audits by University of Northern Iowa’s "Iowa Waste Reduction Center" (formerly the Small Business Assist. Program) and the DNR’s "Waste Reduction Assistance Program." We received letters from both programs thanking Bertch for the valuable ideas they collected, assuring that the ideas would be passed along to other companies.
- Bertch participated in the Iowa DNR's Summer Intern program, providing real-world experience to a college student majoring in environmental science.
- Yearly, seedlings are given to Bertch employees, as well as "Partners In Education" kids. The founders of Bertch have also actively planted both hardwood and softwood trees each year to assure the remarkable renewable resource used in Bertch's products are continuously replenished.
- Earth Day presentations for Partners In Education kids, are presented by Bertch employees.
- An on-site wood-fired boiler and cogeneration unit provides both heat and electricity for Bertch plants by utilizing wood waste. Wood boilers burn wood scrap for fuel, heating buildings and drying ovens, effectively saving huge amounts of landfill space. Bertch has also pursued receipt of pallets from local industries for boilers, helping these companies conserve landfill space as well.
- Bertch utilizes inter-office e-mail in an effort to reduce paper use.
- Bertch promotes use of both sides of copier paper for internal documents, recycles used paper, cardboard, magazines, plastic stretch wrap, and purchases recycled paper for office use. Bertch also promotes the return and reuse of corner blocks.