Eco-friendly (recycled) furniture boon to nonprofits

Eco-friendly (recycled) furniture boon to nonprofits

May 29th, 2010 by Tamara Best in Green

* What: "Green" furniture for nonprofit organizations

* Company: Eastgate Town Center

* How it's green: Pre-owned furniture that is either recycled or refurbished for nonprofits

* When: Project is in progress

Staff File Photo by John Rawlston/Chattanooga Times Free Press - Eastgate Town Center, located in Brainerd, is the site of green efforts in the reuse of furniture.

* Why do it this way? Paul Mallchok, general manager of Eastgate Town Center, said the idea came when deciding what to do with furniture after BlueCross BlueShield moved to its new location and furniture was left behind. Mr. Mallchok said the furniture is being provided as part of the lease for the nonprofits. "We're taking existing furniture, recycling and reconfiguring it so they can use it as a part of their operations," said John Jerman with Office Furniture Warehouse, who is providing the furniture for Eastgate.

* Plans for expanding? "Everywhere we can where we can get a company to listen, we're for it," Mr. Jerman said. Office Furniture Warehouse is hoping that it will be able to work with some of the companies that are moving as a result of Volkswagen coming to Chattanooga, Mr. Jerman said.

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? "Plant a tree, you'd amazed by all the things trees can do for the environment," Mr. Jerman said. The U.S. Green Building Council (www.usgbc.org) helps one to find products that are certified and safe.

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? "It's a unique business niche," Mr. Jerman said. When companies need to get rid of furniture because they are moving out of a space, making it available to other companies helps them save money and keep the furniture out of landfills.