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While many companies claim to 'green,' Bertch manufactures with the environment of future generations in mind.
The environmental term ‘green’ has a wide-ranging definition. With regard to cabinet manufacturing, it can refer to an environmentally responsible manufacturing process, the use of sustainable materials, or a reduced VOC finishing process. For Bertch, it is all of the above…and more.
As a fully integrated U.S. manufacturer, the company produces all of its own components. Eco-friendly finishing technology minimizes emissions. A co-generation system turning sawdust into electrical energy has been in place for more than 25 years. Planting thousands of trees yearly helps preserve the earth’s natural resources. And, the company has achieved certification in the Environmental Stewardship Program (ESP), the environmental recognition from the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association. “The company’s products reflect a commitment to reforestation, recycling and a general respect for the environment,” the company stresses.
Bertch, a family owned and operated company, believes that good product design means built to last, and “there are few products that are as renewable and durable as those made with hardwood lumber,” notes the company. “We have always promoted wood products because of their ecological footprint.” “As a cabinet manufacturer, we feel one of our most unique aspects is our diversification of product design – from minimalist contemporary to ornately traditional,” comments Bertch. To that end, the company offers many custom features, such as “create-a-door,” “select-a-wood,” a “menu door that shows distressing options,” “custom finishes”…the choices are endless.
Bertch’s Timbergate Interior Door Program showcases both its interest in producing innovative products and its commitment to the environment. The rails and stiles of Bertch’s interior doors are made exclusively from staves of wood that are generated and left over during the cabinetmaking process. They are fingerjointed together and glued with formaldehyde-free adhesives into a solid lumber block, and surfaced with wood veneer. While the parts for the entire door are real wood, they are far less prone to warping and twisting because of the unique construction. At Bertch, thousands of board feet of lumber are recycled and reused in this manner. Off-gassing is of critical importance to the company as well, and today most of the plywood components that Bertch uses have no formaldehyde. In fact, the company notes that the amount of formaldehyde in its finishing materials has been reduced by 97.6% since 1996.
Bertch’s internal business practices are also designed to be environmentally friendly. Paper, cardboard, plastic wrap, light bulbs, toner cartridges, metal and aluminum are all recycled, amounting to over 5 tons per year. Monitors and computers are distributed to county programs for reuse. Interoffice emails and autodepositing of checks, as well as the elimination of filing through a content data management system, have led the way toward the eventual goal of a paperless office. A solvent recycling program allows the firm to reuse solvents for the cleaning of equipment. And, the company’s updated fleet of diesel trucks emit one-sixtieth the soot exhaust of a truck produced in 1988. As other firms begin to implement environmental processes, Bertch will just keep doing what it has always done, and continue to explore new ways to lessen the environmental impact of its business.
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