As part of its continually evolving eco-friendly approach to furniture manufacturing, Fusion Designs is responsible for planting more than 7,000 trees across North America through its partnership with the global non-profit One Tree Planted.
“Our company has always understood the important responsibility we have to not only service our customers, but to protect the environment. Reforestation is one of the many steps we take to assure responsible manufacturing every day,” said Marcus Bontrager, president of Fusion Designs, a leader in solid wood, domestically produced case goods. “One Tree Planted is a wonderful partner that makes it easy for a company of our size to help support reforestation efforts that protect our natural resources, biodiversity and create a healthier climate for everyone.”
According to Bontrager, participating in One Tree Planted’s reforestation efforts was a natural move for a company that produces solid wood furniture. “It’s important to us to sustain the availability of our most important natural resource,” he said, “and to minimize our carbon footprint as much as we can.” In fact, since its inception Fusion Designs has harvested all of the lumber used to make its wood furniture designs from its home state of Indiana and its neighboring states of Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Different areas of the country are known for different woods,” he said. “If you go farther south than Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to harvest walnut, for example, the wood is whiter than the rich brown we’re known for, while Ohio provides us with maple and oak and Pennsylvania is known for its high-quality cherry. Harvesting locally not only ensures a lower carbon footprint; it ensures we’re utilizing better quality woods overall.”
Fusion Designs eco-friendly efforts also extend well beyond working to replace locally harvested trees. “As a company with Amish roots, our manufacturing plants are entirely powered by natural gas units that are tested and certified to be very friendly to the environment,” Bontrager said. “But the most important change we have made is to strive for zero waste. And five years ago, we moved from burning our scrap wood, to recycling 100 percent.”
Since Fusion Designs uses only solid wood in its furniture, there is zero contamination from additives like glues, paraffin, resins, and the formaldehyde used in composite wood products like plywood, particle board and medium density fiberboard (MDF) which have historically made these materials difficult, if not impossible to recycle.
“All of those materials, often used in promotionally priced and imported furniture designs are destined to be burned or headed straight for the landfill for disposal,” Bontrager said. “The advantage to using only American hardwoods is that everything left over can be recycled for reuse.” Indeed, all of Fusion Designs’ scrap wood is collected by a local company that grinds it down to make wood pellets used to heat homes in the winter, and into wood chips used for animal bedding and garden mulch in the spring and summer.
“Our scrap recycling is just one more step in our ongoing commitment to adopt more sustainable practices and to find ways to be more eco-friendly as a company,” he said. “We strongly believe from the standpoint of the environment and from evolving consumer preferences, it’s a step taken in the right direction.”