HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) - A West Michigan manufacturer is teaching other companies how to be green with garbage. Haworth does not send any waste to landfills. On Wednesday, representatives from businesses around the U.S. were at the Holland-based office furniture maker learning how that happens.
The high-end chairs in the Haworth showroom are the final step of a long process, but the furniture maker also uses the leftovers, like plastic.
"It's injection molded into trays, which we used to put plants in, and we use to house our green roof," says Steve Kooy, Global Sustainability Manager for Haworth.
In fact, last year alone Haworth recycled 50 million pounds of waste, which added to the company's claim to fame that not a single product goes into a landfill.
"We're looking at our environment and want to have neutral or positive environmental impact," says Kooy.
Haworth's zero waste to landfill policy is being featured in Green Manufacturer Magazine, which organized a workshop with 50 companies nationwide.
"It's kind of unbelievable that a company of this size, Haworth, sends less garbage to a landfill than we do as individuals in our homes," says Megan Paja, with Green Manufacturer Magazine.
"There's a tendency to think that it costs money to recycle and it's a burden on their company, one thing I want to show is that you can make money with recyclables," says Bill Gurn, Facility Maintenance Manager for Haworth.
Haworth officials say one of the challenges is finding a place for non-recyclable items like coffee cups or wrappers, and the company is currently addressing that issue.
Those products are sent to other locations to be burned for energy, which is not as environmentally friendly.
"We're very concerned about these destinations , so we have three incinerators we use around the country that certainly meet the stringent environmental regulations," says Kooy.
The process of waste to energy is only used for 2% of Haworth's garbage, but the company plans on reducing that amount every year.
Green Manufacturer Magazine will be featuring another company in the spring, but the location is yet to be determined.