Problem Solver - August 2015
Find a printable version here
Problem Solver Questions & Answers

Find Green Site Furnishings

Many fail to realize the impact benches, litter receptacles, tables, bike racks and the like have on an outdoor setting. These kinds of furnishings contribute to visitors' perceptions and to the "greening" of your site. When considering a purchase or standardization of site furniture, you should research manufacturers and consider several important factors to ensure your site is green.

Q: We need site furnishings, and want to encourage recycling, while also using recycled content. What should we know?

A: First, ask how much of the product comes from recycled materials. The majority of site furniture manufacturers will offer steel and recycled plastic; some also offer aluminum and other recycled materials. A quick perusal of the manufacturer's website will typically tell you the recycled content of their materials.

How can these products be used to encourage recycling? Many site furniture catalogs provide you with ways to promote green initiatives, particularly recycling initiatives. This can often be achieved with special lids and decals on existing litter receptacles or through recycling stations customized to accept your unique recyclables and litter.

Q: What else should we look for?

A: Look for proven durability. Ask if the products will last in the intended setting. At recreational, sports, and fitness facilities, site furniture must sustain high usage. The more durable the product, the less often replacement purchases are made, lowering your long-term costs. Infrequent purchases also cut down on the carbon emissions from shipping. Another benefit is that durable products tend to be low-maintenance, translating to less use of energy, water or cleaning chemicals.

You also should look for locally made products, when possible. How far are your furnishings traveling from supplier to your site? This concept is simple to grasp. The closer the manufacturing plant, the fewer carbon emissions released during transport. A bonus of purchasing locally made products is the probable access to the facilities: should a problem arise, you can easily reach the supplier.


Victor Stanley

View previous Problem Solver article Problem Solver menu View next Problem Solver article