SMART SUSTAINABILITY: Sourcing Materials Consciously

Where I spend my money is important to me. I want to take pride in the companies I support, to feel they are doing more than simply producing a product I like. That means I try to do a bit of research on where my money goes: what sorts of activities does the company support? Do they participate in any nonprofit ventures? What are their values? It goes so far beyond good customer support (which is, of course, crucial). These days most of us are concerned about this planet. Keeping it thriving while we do what we humans do it essential. But what does that entail?

Part of the reason I love being a part of the team is that we’re on a perpetual quest to find the most environmentally friendly and sustainably sourced materials for our production, and in every aspect of our business.

Sourcing with a Higher Standard

When it comes to our picture frames, we never purchase wood of endangered plant species or buy from protected forests, so you know your picture frames meet strict eco-standards. Our standards leverage the best of what’s sustainable and recycled, whether it’s bamboo, reclaimed barn wood or fence board (check out our Barnwood collection), felled plantation trees or finger-joined scrap wood from domestic lumber mills. Kind of like how farms yield rotating crops — and the crops get replanted for later yields. In fact, we have a salvage project where we dismantle century-old, American barns (in some cases, they’re structurally unstable and a hazard to the landowners or their animals). We retain all of it and upcycle as picture frame moulding and – more. For a peek at the results of this, check out our Kentucky Barnwood collection.

I also love that most of what makes up our picture frames is sourced right here in the US. (100% of the finishing materials —matting, glazing, backing — are US-sourced.) When we cannot get what we need in the US (that’s rare), we import the materials and collaborate with US-based companies to innovate and become our future vendors. How cool is that?

For our aluminum frames, we only source domestically. EPA standards for the mining and production of aluminum in the US are far more environmentally protective than anywhere else. Besides, buying in the USA keeps jobs here for Americans.

Beyond the Frame

There’s so much more involved in our day-to-day. Paper for our catalog. Office paper. Prints produced in the Print & Frame Shop. Our catalog is printed on paper from sustainably managed forests and certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative, while our office paper has a percentage of post-consumer content. And because we pride ourselves in being a sustainability leader, we’ve added a brand-new paper choice made from naturally sustainable bamboo (it makes for beautiful prints, by the way!).

team members working on catalog

Some of our team working on our catalog

Packing It Up

It doesn’t end there. After your picture frames and prints are done, everything get shipped out to you. More paper. More packing materials. What to do with all that? Well, we worked with one of our vendors to develop and test a new bubble wrap with a first-of-it’s kind 50% minimum of post-consumer content. It can be recycled after you use it like a plastic shopping bag! The bubble wrap also comes in larger rolls than traditional ones, so we’ve got fewer cardboard cores to recycle.  Plus, our vendor now has it available to all their clients. (Yay – epic win!)

We love making these differences! We continue to seek out more and better environmentally friendly ways to produce the products you love and to keep our day-to-day business humming. That’s the kind of company I’m proud to work for!

Thank you for doing your own responsible sourcing by framing your lovely art with us! Know of any ways we might be able to improve our process and remove even more waste? Share with us in the comments!

Written by Roominate contributor, Cheryl

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