EPA’s WasteWise Program Honors Herman Miller for Sustainable Furniture Design

EPA’s WasteWise Program Honors Herman Miller for Sustainable Furniture Design

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's WasteWise program has presented furniture maker Herman Miller with its 2005 Product Stewardship Gold Achievement Award in the Design category. The company also received an Honorable Mention in the Large Business category for its recycling efforts.

The Gold Achievement Award in part recognizes the work of Herman Miller's Design for the Environment (DfE) program, responsible for the company's development, implementation, and management of environmentally sensitive product design standards. The DfE team, using the "Cradle to Cradle" protocol developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry, evaluates new and existing Herman Miller products based on their material chemistry, ease of disassembly, recyclability, and recycled content. In 2001 Herman Miller became the first in its industry to adopt "Cradle to Cradle" criteria for all new products. Since that time the DfE team has influenced multiple new product and product material introductions, including:
  • The Mirra office chair, introduced in 2003. Mirra was the first wholly new Herman Miller product under the DfE program and the first ergonomic work chair in the industry to undergo such scrutiny. Following the "cradle-to-cradle" philosophy, Mirra is 96% recyclable, is composed of 42% recycled material, contains no polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and is produced using alternative "green" energy.
  • Kira, a proprietary panel system fabric unveiled in 2004. Kira is made from 100% annually renewable, bio-based fiber derived from the plant sugars of corn. It is suitable for a variety of textile products and applications, and can be completely composted at the end of its useful life.
  • New work surface materials were introduced in 2004, including wheatboard substrate and bamboo veneer. Both are rapidly renewable materials that also meet Herman Miller's exacting standards for quality, durability, and functionality.
  • The Cella task chair, Herman Miller’s newest cradle-to-cradle product, was introduced this year. Cella is composed of 33% recycled content, is 99% recyclable, can be disassembled in less than five minutes, is PVC free, and is also produced using alternative energy.
Herman Miller additionally earned the 2004 WasteWise Honorable Mention in recognition of its corporate-wide initiative to keep materials out of landfills and incinerators by boosting recycling efforts. In 2004 alone, Herman Miller recycled more than 2.3 million pounds of corrugated cardboard, 157.5 thousand pounds of office paper, 11.6 million pounds of steel, 3.1 million pounds of mixed plastics, 540 thousand pounds of waste powder, and 866 thousand pounds of textiles. Herman Miller first received WasteWise honors in 1995.

“We are honored to be recognized by the EPA for both our product stewardship and recycling efforts,” said Herman Miller Environmental Affairs Director Paul Murray. “We remain committed to the WasteWise program’s goals, which not coincidentally support our own drive to become a fully sustainable enterprise by 2020.”

Herman Miller and other award-winning companies will be honored at the WasteWise 2005 Annual Conference Oct. 24-25, 2005 in Washington, D.C.