Sunday is Earth Day. Every year on April 22, people around the world come together to celebrate our planet and work to keep it healthy.

But being a good citizen of our planet is not just a once-a-year thing. Here are five ways Draper works year-round toward promoting sustainability:

Green Manufacturing
Processes and scrap materials can make manufacturing a wasteful prospect. Utilizing Lean Manufacturing methods, we ensure that we are making the most use of the space we have, to keep our carbon and building footprints as low as possible.

The construction of Draper products has become friendlier to the environment by including more low- and zero-emission materials and using increasingly efficient manufacturing processes. All of our product lines contain significant recycled content and we continue to increase recycled content in our products.

Since we manufacturer the vast majority of our products in our Spiceland, Indiana, facility, we present a smaller carbon footprint than manufacturers who may be importing a great deal of product. We also seek to use the most sustainable materials possible. Our motors and most of our shade fabrics are certified to meet the RoHS lead-free standard. We utilize powder coat instead of wet paint. Powder coatings do not contain solvents, release little or no volatile organic compounds (VOC) into the air, and have a more efficient process. Waste powder can be recovered and reused. Most powder coatings are not defined as hazardous waste by the Resources Conservation and Recover Act (RCRA), so most states allow the same disposal methods as for non-hazardous industrial wastes.

We’ve even taken steps to make our packaging less wasteful. Each product is packed and protected using made-to-order packaging materials for an exact fit!

Waste reduction is critical. Through an aggressive program we have greatly reduced the amount of scrap we produce, and much of what we do have is recycled or reused. For example, we collect the cores on which fabrics are rolled, and return them for reuse. We also return some shade material scrap for recycling. We even reuse shipping pallets and skids.

Draper offers detailed local recycling instructions for old products. Local recycling is far “greener” and makes more sense than costly and wasteful shipping of old product back to the manufacturer for recycling. To facilitate this, Draper provides an online recycling locator for dealers and others to find recycling centers for vinyl, steel and electronics.

Clean Air
It’s important to keep the air we breathe free of dangerous volatile organic compounds (VOC). GREENGUARD Gold-certified materials meet or exceed industry standard limits for off-gassing. This helps protect sensitive children and adults in places they spend many hours every day, including schools, daycares, healthcare facilities, homes, and businesses. Draper provides solutions featuring GREENGUARD-certified materials in all of our primary product lines: projection screens, window shades, and gymnasium equipment.

Reducing Hazardous Chemicals
More people are becoming concerned over the use of so-called plasticizers—chemicals used to make vinyl more pliable. Draper provides shading solutions manufactured with fabrics that use bio-based plasticizers. Phifer SheerWeave® PW3500, PW4100, and PW4400 are made with Ecolibrium™, a bio-based plasticizer. Fabrics using Ecolibrium™ lower greenhouse gas emissions as much as 40% versus those using PVC compounds. They are Phthalate-free and can be recycled in a standard vinyl stream. Click here to use our online calculator to show savings on petroleum and reduction of greenhouse gases when using this on a project.

GreenScreen® Evolve™ is a zero waste designer fabric, which is Cradle-to-Cradle CertifiedCM Silver. Evolve is 100% recyclable, PVC free, and lead free. It is manufactured in the United States from 100% recycled post-industrial and consumer plastic waste, and contains up to 72% Repreve® fibers.

Sustainable Solutions
Window shades reflect light and heat from the sun, reducing the amount of energy required to cool the building. Motorized window shades can automatically adjust to compensate for the changing shade requirements throughout the day. Shades support healthy daylighting, while reducing or eliminating uncomfortable glare for workers. Meeting and presentation rooms can benefit from both daylight and energy savings with the use of projection screens and window shades.

Corporate Environmental Mission Statement
Companies should take their responsibilities to their communities and the environment seriously. Draper is serious enough that we have a corporate environmental mission statement:

As a United States manufacturer of quality products for the architectural market for over 100 years, Draper is committed to providing products for the sustainable design market. As members of our local, state, and national community, and as members of the U.S. Green Building Council, our company and our employees are striving to become more environmentally conscious by continuously upgrading our facilities to be more energy efficient, and by introducing “reduce, reuse, and recycle” programs. We will continue to upgrade and design new products with these goals in mind.

We are recycling tons of materials per month in nine categories. We’ve also introduced programs for reusing wood and cardboard products, including hundreds of shipping pallets, skids, and shipping tubes. We are constantly seeking to increase the efficiency of our energy use.

For more information on Draper’s green commitment and strategies, click here.

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