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OCRRA Recycler of the Year

OCRRA Certified Blue Ribbon Recycler of the Year

Company background information 

ROFC began as Roberts Furniture Brokers in 1991, liquidating corporate facilities nationally and developing the beginning stages of our inventory supply chain. The company shifted its focus in 1998 to the development of processes for the complete restoration/remanufacturing of office furniture systems. Our Mission, to rebuild a product indistinguishable from its original, utilize the industry’s most elite products paying considerable attention to its quality, in the most sustainable fashion possible and offering a warranty equal to that of new, all within Onondaga County. Having expanded to utilizing over 221,000sqft of manufacturing and warehouse space, we welcome the addition to a new 40,000sqft design center soon to open March 13th, 2012 in Cicero, New York. 

Specific recycling or waste reduction initiatives that we have implemented at our business that other businesses could emulate… 

•The removed fabrics and interior battings of the office partitions are stripped and then redeployed to our upholstery department where the materials are sewn together creating large moving blankets for our shipping department 
•Excess seating fabrics are used as individual component packaging materials in our assembly department
•Because of the quality of panel that we remanufacture, in the event a panel is well beyond repair, we remove all surplus materials and parts from the tubular frame and send them to our metal fabrication center. They are then cut and welded together to specific dimensions and are then used as mobile panel carts for product transportation throughout both production and field installations locally 
•Beyond the carts, we also utilize excess scrap metals for various connectors, flat plates, cutting jigs, etc. within our facilities 
•Surplus workstation worksurfaces that have been acquired through various acquisition processes, are often cut up and used to manufacturer our own specific sized pallets for the shipping department
•Reuse packaging material from other Roberts vendors like boxes, cardboard, and plastic bags to protect our outgoing products
•Shelving consists of reused and rebuilt pallets as well as old panels 
•Roberts utilizes separate dumpsters for those items that we cannot internally recycle from metal to wood to plastics which are then sent to appropriate recyclers of those materials.
•At every employee desk as well as our common areas, you can find recycling and trash bins for segregation of recycled materials
•Default message in all emails asking our reader to consider the environment before printing as well as our computer system automatically printing to PDF formats which is how we prefer to extend our proposals to our customer base
•We highly encourage double sided printing here in the office
•When ordering paper and notepads we always request products made of recycled and post-consumer products 

Obstacles to implementing these initiatives 

Our biggest obstacle to implementing these initiatives is changing the habits of people, as is the issue for many of our environmental efforts going on in the community. Another impediment is the convenience of receptacles, if someone isn’t within a reasonable distance; the act of recycling properly could easily slip their mind or not be of much importance.

Specific financial benefits for our business due to recycling or waste reduction actions implemented by Roberts…

•By manufacturing our own moving blankets, we save on average $3.80 per pad, but the biggest benefit is the ability to create the sizes that are appropriate for us that if requested from a supplier, would increase the prices dramatically
•The utilization of surplus tubular frames to manufacture our own moving panel carts saves us roughly $185.00ea, but again, the ability to manufacture sizes that are uncommon to that particular industry but works for us, a value can’t be assigned
•The re-using of vendors packaging materials and the use of our own waist for packaging is significant. So much so, that we also monitor to make sure that as much of those products are returned for an extended life. We will re-use until it can no longer be, and then we dispose of those materials properly through our in-house channels
•Last resort, we have to dispose of externally through a recycler of those materials whereas we developed a means to turn that into revenue. Through all of our efforts, we spend very little in the raw disposal of materials if any at all
•Another disposal means is via the alliances that we have developed with non for profit organizations whereas we invite them in to evaluate those items that we cannot re-use to see if there may be value to them. We donate a significant amount of office products to these various organizations as another means to recycle, create a longer life cycle and avoid the waste stream
•The manufacturing of pallets from surplus worksurfaces has allowed us to take a product that is non-recyclable and created another function for it. Having the ability to build our own custom sizes has allowed us to not buy new pallets in our business history
•Probably one of the largest recycling efforts that we feel most could share in is the ability to just offer office furniture in an as-is condition whereas little manufacturing effort is used. The savings is immeasurable considering the savings from the waste stream, energy savings from building new or even remanufacturing, the fuels used to develop, manufacture, and distribute those items to the public for resale, wastes created, pollutants emitted, etc. This is a just one service provide by Roberts that has the largest recycling commitment of all. “Cost savings – immense.”

Additional benefits as a result of implementing actions required by the OCRRA Blue Ribbon Recycler program to become a more conscientious recycling organization. 

The interesting part, Roberts is incredibly sustainable, looking for every product that can be built and rebuilt time and time again, but the OCCRA program made us more aware of our surroundings that we often over looked, “the basics.” We came up short on the day to day office recycling efforts of the simple items: paper, glass and plastics. The OCCRA agency helped us become more conscious about our recycling program as a whole and encouraged us to continue to implement an even more extensive disposal programs, significantly more as it pertained to our front office efforts. They introduced us to others that may be able to help with some of our more difficult disposal situations in manufacturing and commended us for what we started.

Additional elements our recycling or waste reduction program since we were last visited by the OCRRA recycling specialist verification visit…

Since our last visit from the OCRRA, Roberts’s upper management has formalized our recycling efforts to ensure each employee has knowledge of and accepts those policies and procedures. Recycling bins are highlighted on the floors both in the manufacturing and office areas. Roberts’ department heads are now responsible for the added duties of making certain that our recycling program is monitored as we strive to better our efforts to educate the importance of recycling and proper disposal programs. 

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