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Norwalk Furniture Incorporates 10% Soy Based Foam

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Norwalk Furniture Corp. announced that they have established a new set of "green" standards and will be using more natural and renewable resources, as well as recycled materials, including: 10 percent soy-based foam and reclaimed wire and steel in seating systems, and natural fibers in the upholstering process. “We understand the need to bring products to market that not only promote health and well-being, but also conservation of the environment,” says Rick McKirahan, president of the leading custom upholstery company. “Norwalk’s production systems not only maximize recycling efforts, but also use energy and resources sparingly,” finishes McKirahan. Cushions comprised of soy-based foam: Using upwards of 20 to 30 trailers of foam a week, Norwalk’s product development team was in search of a ‘green’ alternative. “We knew that we had to replace the petroleum-based foam product we were using,” says McKirahan. Norwalk soon made that change upon learning of Preserve ™ by Hickory Springs – a flexible polyurethane foam product that replaces a portion of petrochemical-based ingredients with soybeans – a sustainable and renewable resource. “It was an important product in support of our ‘green’ mission,” finishes McKirahan. Today, all of the upholstery manufactured in Norwalk, Ohio, is comprised of 10 percent soy-based foam, courtesy of Preserve. “The introduction comes at the right time,” says McKirahan, pointing to rising petroleum prices and concerns about raw material availability. Despite Preserve’s bio-based background, the foam delivers the same comfort, durability and support of Norwalk’s previous seating system. “It’s the most innovative cushioning material that we’ve used since the introduction of high-resilience foam in the 80s, and it outperforms conventional foam,” says Jeff Gross, director of product development at Norwalk Furniture Corp. “More and more customers are environmentally-conscious, and seeking products that are labeled as such,” says Gross. “It’s important that they’re aware that these products also carry the same, or improved, quality.” In addition to soy foam, Norwalk uses water-based glue for cushion components. “We’re going green anywhere we can,” he finishes. Seating made of recycled wire and steel: Another step in Norwalk’s journey is the use of recycled wire and steel in the company’s state-of-the-art eight-way fabricated soft seating system called S3 Coil. The double coil soft seating system – hence the S3 designation – is arranged so that every square inch of seating area receives the necessary (and anticipated) comfort and support. According to Gross, this is achieved using only recycled wire and steel, which helps to prevent the continued digging of new, unearthed raw materials. Other recycled building materials: Proactively green, Norwalk’s ongoing commitment also shows in its selection of construction materials. “We’re contributing to a building better environment in our product selections,” says Gross. In fabrics, for example, the company opts for natural fibers such as cotton, linen and new wool. “We’re trying to get away from petroleum-based products,” he adds. No toxic substances are used in processing of natural-born fibers. The company also leans toward hardwood laminates from faster growing hardwoods rather than slow-growing counterparts. “It takes 40 to 60 years for forests to regenerate,” says Gross. Norwalk has been a member of the Tennessee Forestry Association for more than 30 years now; the organization works to utilize “select” timber, promote forest growth, and has planned hardwood usage. Other examples of earth friendlier practices implemented at Norwalk include the use of 50 to 100 percent recycled textile goods and fiber content in such items as cotton batting and fiber wrap, and cardboard and other packaging made from 100 percent recycled materials. In the fuel conversation category, Norwalk uses bio-diesel fuel, which is 2 percent soy-based in winter months, and 5 percent in the summer. “We also set tractor governors lower,” finishes Gross. For information, visit the Norwalk Furniture Web site at www.norwalkfurniture.com.

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