Every day we make business decisions that reflect our company culture of ethical production. It’s not just about having the best product design and producing the best quality, it’s also about being able to extend our values to the world around us and leaving a positive legacy for the planet. We want to help save energy, use recycled products, make eco-positive fabric choices, and reduce unnecessary plastic. For many businesses the right choice is a hard choice, maybe even the expensive choice. For us, making a difference is business as usual.
We want to make the most comfortable cushions on the planet, but we also want you to feel good about your choice to purchase from Barnett Home Decor.
Barnett’s Plastic Reduction Policy: We can put the planet first without putting the customer second
We’ve all seen plastic bags stuck in trees, in chain-link fences, or floating in oceans and waterways. According to the US EPA, in 2015 about 730,000 tons of plastic bags were generated in the United States, with more than 87% of those winding up in landfills and oceans. For sea turtles that eat jellyfish, plastic bags look like an easy meal, with deadly results. This is one of multiple reasons single use plastics are being banned in many cities, counties, and states. At Barnett, we’ve thought long and hard about how we could do more to be better stewards of the planet, without diminishing an excellent customer experience.
We have a duty to our children and our grandchildren to reduce unnecessary packaging, and to use renewable resources whenever possible. So we tasked ourselves with the job of examining our shipping practices to weigh the cost to our environment and the cost to our customers.
In 2016 we did an extensive study of shipping practices and found that shipping in plastic bags did not measurably protect our products better than heavy-duty cardboard cartons with kraft packing paper. As a result, we resolved to ship our cushions without plastic polybags. Our recent calculations have shown we have saved the planet from 100,000 plastic bags since we implemented the policy.
Greenguard Gold Certified Fabrics: Clean Indoor Air Quality and a Small Carbon Footprint
There’s a saying, ‘Think globally, act locally”. It’s the kind of business decision we make that has nothing to do with legislation or environmental laws. It’s what we do as an eco-conscience brand to take the actions in our plants and local communities that resonate and positively impact the health of the entire planet.
For a company like ours, that means paying attention to the fabrics we use, chemical treatments used on those fabrics, and the health of our customer. We want you to be comfortable and healthy. Our cushions last a long time and you should be able to enjoy them for a long time.
According to the US EPA, Americans receive most of their daily chemical exposure from breathing the air inside their home and other indoor environments. Many companies chemically treat their cushions for stain resistance, colorfastness and a myriad of other reasons, but our Brisbane Collection starts and ends with Greenguard Gold certified performance fabrics. Fabrics that have been Greenguard certified are scientifically proven to meet rigorous chemical emissions standards to help reduce the risk of your family being exposed to potentially harmful chemicals such as VOCs.
In addition to being Greenguard Gold certified, the fabrics used to make our Brisbane Collection cushions are also the textiles with the lowest possible carbon footprint (Source: Higg Index). These remarkable performance fabrics are dyed without the use of water, unlike many fabrics which require the mills to dump vast amounts of toxic chemicals leftover from the dying and rinsing process into their waste water streams. It requires less land, water and energy to produce these fabrics than other textiles.
Recycled Foam Fill: It’s What’s on the Inside that Counts
We’ve done our best to cover our shipments with sustainable packaging, and to offer cushions covered with safe fabric choices. We take it a step further with the Latex Foam Fill we use to make our cushions so comfy. Inside each of our dining chair cushions is our special blend of latex foam -we’ve been using it for more than 60 years, and for more than 60 years we’ve been sourcing it from pre-consumer recycled materials. By taking the “waste” foam and trimmings from latex foam manufacturers, and minimally processing it to turn it into chair pad fill, we are able to produce a product with a lower environment impact, and save thousands of pounds of manufacturing byproduct from entering landfills. The fact that our recycled foam is “pre-consumer” means it is clean and hygienic, it is all new material that we took straight from the factory where it was made.
Repurposing with Intent: Barnett’s Zero Waste Goal
Like the American latex foam manufacturers who generate the foam we use in our fill, we have our own leftovers and trimmings from our manufacturing process. We strive to convert as much of our own waste as possible into usable products.
One of our most successful products designed to recover our own waste materials is our Rocking Chair Cushion Extender Headrest Pillow (which is also one of the longest product names in our catalog). This completes the loop for us and allows us to minimize any waste that goes into the manufacture of our durable cushions. If you follow us on social media you’re likely to be invited to participate in one of our focus group surveys where we conduct market research to see what other products we can make from materials that would otherwise be waste material.
Locally Sourced Home Decor: The Buy Local Movement Felt Around the World
Being located in Macon, Georgia, USA, Barnett Home Décor naturally has a smaller environmental footprint than brands that outsource their manufacturing overseas. All of our products are Made in the USA with your choice of imported or American-made fabrics. We make it a priority to source the majority of our fabrics and materials from the USA, so getting our products to market and to your home uses significantly less fossil fuels, and generates less emissions. Although it’s been hard for us to find American suppliers for our raw materials and equipment, supporting the local economies isn’t just the right thing to do, it also helps ensure product quality, ensure product safety, and prevent supply chain disruption. If you want to help support local economies you can use the Made in USA filter on our website to shop cushions Made in USA with American-made fabrics and materials.
With a +130 year old legacy to uphold, we’ve got our feet planted firmly in tradition and our gaze locked ahead on the future. Trusting that we’ll be around another 130 years, we owe it to our successors to be stewards of the planet. Having survived the mass exodus of manufacturing to offshore factories, we owe it to our peers to support American manufacturing. And having families and loved ones of our own, we could only make the choice to promote the health and safety of our customers and our employees. Doing the right thing, or squeezing out some extra profit by cutting some corners… It isn't a hard choice when you take immense pride in your work. Call us old fashioned if you like, but we’ll take good over cheap any day.