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Eco Conscious Materials

What makes an award or plaque eco friendly? Thoughtful award design and materials are key.

If you've been shopping for awards or plaques for a while, you'll immediately notice that our award designs don't look like traditional corporate trophies and plaques.  Our distinctive style and our thoughtful selection of planet-friendly materials set us apart. You won't see any plastic trophies, acrylic awards, or rosewood plaques originating from our shop.  We meticulously source raw materials that do less harm to our planet and communities, taking care at every step to minimize our climate impacts. From design to delivery, we're as green as it gets.

Materials We Use to Make Our Recognition Products

A favorite of American craftspeople and furniture makers since the mid-18th century, mahogany has long been appreciated for its workability and durability. Mahogany’s dense, straight grain and dark red-brown hue create a smooth, naturally glossy surface. 

We became an FSC®-certified chain-of-custody provider before we shipped our first product in 2002. (FSC-C019049). FSC®-certified mahogany is the only tropical hardwood in our collection. It is imported from well-managed, FSC-certified forests, such as those in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. We offer it in an effort to support indigenous rainforest communities and provide them with a market alternative to illegal logging.

A member of the rose family, cherry has been a favorite with furniture makers since Greek and Roman times. American colonial cabinet makers also prized cherry’s natural luster attractive grain, and smooth texture. Cherry is photo-sensitive and darkens with age. 

Our FSC-certified domestic cherry is generally from Eastern U.S. forests. We make certain that the front of awards is heartwood (darker) and leave sapwood (lighter) on the backs, if at all. Cherry has more visible grain pattern than mahogany, and can have natural mineral marks or streaks. These “flaws” give cherry its unique, natural look.

Maple is not just for bowling pins and basketball courts. We design with maple because it offers contemporary appeal with the warmth of wood. 

Our FSC-certified domestic maple is generally from Eastern U.S. forests. Our maple designs pay tribute to the natural beauty, strength, and durability that we associate with maple trees

For custom awards, we are happy to use other hardwoods, provided they are FSC-certified and will not present any health hazards to our coworkers. Some exotic hardwoods, including some species of rosewood and ebony, contain toxic biocides that protect trees from fungal and microbial invasions. These chemical compounds can be harmful, even fatal, to woodworkers. We will not introduce such species into our woodshop.

Over the years, we have created some custom products from reclaimed woods (barn wood, deadfall, urban tree scraps). We evaluate taking on this type of work on a case by case basis, keeping in mind the strict controls and reporting procedures required as part of our FSC chain of custody standard.

Richlite® biocomposite is made from post-consumer recycled paper (mostly recycled cardboard) and is FSC Recycled 100%. In addition, Richlite products are GREENGUARD® certified for indoor use in residential, school, and institutional environments. The surfaces are produced using an innovative and efficient WE™ (Waste-to-Energy) manufacturing system that captures toxins and recirculates heat to greatly minimize fuel consumption, pollution, and carbon emissions.

Richlite has the smooth, dense texture of a fine countertop. Awards made from Richlite are significantly heavier than those made from hardwoods. 

Bamboo is a grass and therefore a rapidly renewable resource. The bamboo used in our products is Plyboo®️ from Smith and Fong in Novato, CA, a company founded in 1989 on the premise that bamboo offered unique opportunities and solutions to some of the world’s social and environmental challenges. This bamboo is grown in managed forests in China. It reaches a mature height of 40 feet in 4 years and does not require replanting after harvesting.

Bamboo offers a sleek, contemporary aesthetic. For our standard products, we use a natural edge grain amber color, which provides warmth without a heavy feel. 

For our Richlite™ products, we use PaperStone™ finish, a long-lasting, durable finish made from natural oils and waxes. View MSDS.

To finish our wood products, we use Agualente, a GREENGUARD® Certified, low VOC, self-sealing pre-catalyzed waterborne coating based on breakthrough European resin technology. View MSDS.

We offer aluminum front and back plates with all our awards. We do not offer brass, bronze, or any other type of metal plate.

While there is currently no independent, third-party process for determining or ensuring the recycled content of aluminum, we believe that aluminum it is the most environmentally responsible choice for awards and signs. According to the USGS Minerals Commodity Summaries, in 2020, aluminum recovered from purchased scrap in the United States was about 3.2 million tons, of which about 53% came from new (manufacturing) scrap and 47% from old scrap (discarded aluminum products). Aluminum recovered from old scrap was equivalent to about 51% of apparent consumption. This gives us a reasonable assurance that the recycled content of our aluminum plates is at least 40% but unfortunately we cannot verify that. We do know that the plates can be recycled, and that recycling aluminum uses only about 5% of the energy used to convert aluminum from boxite.

Glass is made from readily-available domestic materials, such as sand, soda ash, limestone and “cullet” (the industry term for furnace-ready recycled glass).

We source the glass tiles we use in our awards from Interstyle, a Canadian company with a strong commitment to maintaining the smallest possible environmental footprint.

We are always happy to talk with you about our work and to learn of new environmentally friendly materials that we might be able to use to make awards and plaques. Please contact us at any time.

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