Message from the President and CEO – Ian McAskile
Over the years, I have been inspired by the commitment of our partners in the landscape architecture and building sectors to prioritizing sustainability. Working with our valued customers, employees, and communities, Maglin is taking steps to solidify our commitment to sustainability and reinforce it as a core pillar of our business.
I am very proud of the accomplishments made by our team in the Sustainability Initiative’s first year. From finding innovative solutions to reduce waste sent to landfill, to supporting the health of our much-loved pond, to producing Environmental Product Declarations for most of our products, our team is committed to sustainability and transparency. We will continue to work incrementally, in big and small ways, to become a more sustainable company.
The following report documents the challenges, successes, and future opportunities through the Maglin Sustainability Initiative during year one. We hope it demonstrates our commitment to reducing our environmental footprint and positively impacting the spaces in which we all live and work.
Maglin Sustainability Statement
At Maglin, we understand that our products become part of the natural and built environment. We care for the spaces our products occupy and the people who will enjoy them for generations to come.
We are shaping our future actions through three overarching pillars: People, Place, and Product.
People are at the center of what we do, and we believe that protecting our environment starts with the choices we make. We will support this philosophy through teaching, equipping, and encouraging our staff to make more sustainable choices.
Place is where work happens. As we use our facility, we commit to making strides to reduce energy usage, water, and waste. Adopting Zero Waste principles within our warehouse will help us reduce our footprint in landfills and contribute to a Circular Economy.
Product is what represents us. We believe we should be responsible for the entire lifecycle of our products – from how they are made to where they end up. This starts with creating Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) to improve our product transparency. This endeavor requires a long-term commitment to reassessing all aspects of our production.
The Maglin Sustainability Initiative
Maglin Site Furniture officially launched its Sustainability Initiative in February 2021. Since then, we have expanded our programs and introduced new projects to achieve our goals. We are working to integrate sustainability into every stage of operations and make it a defining feature of our products. Maglin is embracing new technologies, practices, and policies to shape the future of sustainability in our organization.
Waste Reduction Programs
Maglin’s waste separation and reduction plan was implemented at the beginning of 2021 and has expanded in scope over the past year. Our compost program ensures that all organic kitchen waste (food scraps, coffee filters, and paper towels) is collected and put into our on-site compost bins. Plant-nourishing, nitrogen-rich coffee grounds are saved for use in a Maglin community garden or by staff in their own gardens.
Paper towels from hand-washing stations have been separated from landfill-bound waste since July 2021. They are collected and taken to a biogas facility, which generates energy from the organic material through anaerobic digestion. Our paper towels, combined with other organic waste, break down in an enclosed system without oxygen. This process releases a gas that is captured and used as a replacement for natural gas, a non-renewable fossil fuel.
Before separating our kitchen organics and paper towels, they were going straight to the landfill. Since we began sorting for compost and anaerobic digestion in July 2021, landfill waste from our facility has decreased by nearly 50%.
Recycling Initiatives in the Warehouse
In the past year, we were able to significantly reduce our waste sent to landfill by sourcing recycling solutions for material offcuts and single-use plastic protective packaging.
All our foam and film wrap (400 lbs a month on average!) that suppliers and services use to protect our products is taken to a specialty plastics recycler. It is chipped, melted, and formed into utility-grade lumber and other “non-aesthetic” applications. Our orange metal bins, with fabric-covered dividers, have significantly reduced the amount of this single-use foam and film originating from our suppliers by around 10 lbs per day.
Another specialty plastics recycler uses our High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) offcuts to make tote bins in various sizes. This is one more way we divert plastics from landfills and into new products.
A local metal recycler collects aluminum and steel from products. Around 50% of aluminum and 69% of steel are recycled in North America. We are proud to capture nearly 100% of our scrap metal from products and associated processing scrap.
Other Maglin recycling streams include:
– Wood (separating the thermal ash and Ipe from the spruce and pine)
– Office paper
– Aluminum cans
– Plastic bottles
We continue to seek out solutions for high-value wood offcuts. While local woodworkers have used Ipe and thermal ash for small projects, the long-term goal is to find a consistent destination for reusing these high-quality woods.
Reusable Solutions: Shipping
In 2020, plastic strapping and edgeboard labels made up a large percentage of our waste and recycling. Both items are single use: strapping would be cut off after transport and tossed in the garbage, while the edgeboard would be used to write a singular product or order number, then recycled. Our goal was to find better solutions that would be reusable again and again.
Maglin is trialing alternative waste reduction methods, including:
Canvas strapping with a cam lock – replaces plastic strapping to hold items in place during transport to and from suppliers and in movement around the warehouse. This solution decreases waste on our end and helps our service providers reduce waste and strapping costs at their facilities.
Laminated edgeboard – allows reuse with wet erase markers, so they can be wiped down and reattached to a new pallet.
We will expand and improve these trials to continue making an impact.
Community Initiatives: Zero Waste Oxford
Since July 2021, Maglin Site Furniture has attended monthly Zero Waste Oxford (ZWO) committee meetings. This group is a coalition of community members, government, and businesses, working to educate, advocate, support, and report on Oxford County’s Zero Waste Goal.
As a ZWO member, we have the opportunity to participate in community change. We can share ideas and learn from other leaders in Oxford County to help everyone progress toward this necessary goal.
Product Transparency & Sustainable Materials
Environmental Product Declarations
In 2022, we began conducting Life-Cycle Assessments and creating Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for our products. An EPD outlines the environmental impact of a product from raw material through end-of-life. It captures information such as carbon footprint, energy and water use, and waste generated across the product’s lifespan. This vast undertaking involved following each component of our products from the supplier to the customer, noting the material, services, and transport between each step. The EPD process also analyzed the final packaging and distance to the average customer to get a holistic view of the impacts.
Creating EPDs supports our company’s values of transparency and sustainability. We can use the information to make more informed choices about our materials and processes and make changes where we see impacts are highest.
EPDs also help our customers looking to reduce the overall environmental footprint of their projects, allowing them to select products that best suit their needs. We currently have EPDs for benches, bike racks, waste & recycling receptacles, chairs, tables, cluster seating, and modular collections. For our customers, EPDs give points towards LEED® and SITES® certifications and help gather information for initiatives such as the City of Toronto’s Green Standard.
Another effort we have made to increase transparency with our products is to survey our suppliers. A questionnaire went to our metal, HDPE, and HDPC suppliers to better understand the recycled content in their materials. That data, combined with the product breakdown information from EPDs, will provide our customers with a more accurate record of recycled content they can also use for LEED points.
Research continues as we explore more sustainable material alternatives for our products.
Our Home Ecosystem
Our manufacturing facility is based in Woodstock, Ontario, near the junction of Ontario Highways 401 and 403. In addition to being located near a critical manufacturing and transportation corridor, we are also situated within a complex watershed ecosystem.
The pond in front of the Maglin building makes our location special. In the spring and fall, many migrating birds take a break here on the way to their next destination. Geese, ducks, and the occasional egret use it as a summer home. The pond freezes over in the winter, becoming the perfect spot for a bench or community skating rink.
Crucially, the pond also supports the health of the Cedar Creek Watershed, one of the most polluted in the Upper Thames River basin. Runoff from our industrial zone is channeled to the pond and passes through to the other side of Ontario Highway 401, where it continues through the Pattullo Avenue Forest.
In the summer of 2021, we noticed the pond’s water levels were high, the water quality poor, and invasive Phragmites were growing rampant, turning the usual bird visitors away. This aggressive perennial grass spreads quickly, offers very little food or suitable habitat for wildlife, and requires special care to remove it. We arranged with the City of Woodstock to have the drainage cover cleared, and the Phragmites sprayed. Water levels have returned to normal, and although it will take additional treatment and ongoing management, the Phragmites are declining, and the birds have made their return.
In consultation with the City of Woodstock, Upper Thames River Conservation Authority, and Ducks Unlimited, we will continue to restore this habitat while creating a walking trail for staff and community residents to enjoy.
The Future of Sustainability at Maglin
As Maglin’s Sustainability Initiative moves into year two and beyond, we are proud of our initial accomplishments and look forward to working toward achieving our overarching goals.
The future of sustainability at Maglin is rooted in transparency. Investigating and evaluating our supply chain means better understanding what is going into our products and what can come from them. We want to activate our entire organization towards our goal of Circularity – increasing recycled and renewable content while decreasing waste to landfill. We also recognize the effect climate change will present to our suppliers and customers. Understanding where we can make impactful changes and collaborating to implement them are essential steps to resiliency and sustainability, for our people, our industry, and the global community.
What’s next for the Sustainability Initiative?
– Working with suppliers to increase the recycled content of materials and ensuring we work toward a common goal.
– Creating a Maglin Green team to integrate the Sustainability Initiative into all departments and source new ideas that will help us reduce our impact.
Maglin is always looking for innovative ideas and solutions. Our sustainability efforts are collaborative, and we welcome your questions, comments, and participation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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