We all have an impact on the Earth and its resources. It is for this reason that Etopa strives to protect all aspects of the globe with the focus of helping businesses create profitable, inspiring and functional spaces with attractive furniture, all while remaining eco-friendly. How exactly are they doing this? One word: Rubberwood.
“Etopa did a lot of research on materials for furniture and we found there’s a huge rubber industry in Hainan, China,” says Hawaii-based Etnobotanist Tasha Goldberg, primary chief environmental consultant for Etopa, part of the group of businesses owned by Neill Corporation, a company founded and operated by salon and spa owners who have been in the beauty industry more than 60 years. “Rubber trees produce latex for 30 years and then are cut down or burned. We tested the wood and found it was equal in durability to the standard maple wood. Also, the trees were local to where we manufacture the furniture, so we no longer had to ship the wood.”
In addition to the renewable, reusable benefits rubberwood offers, the extremely wide leaves of the plant create a natural “carbon sink,” which pulls carbon from the atmosphere by absorbing it.
During construction, all by-products are recycled and reused, even down to the dust generated in the construction process. “In other factories, you’ll see people wearing masks to be sure not to inhale the dust,” Goldberg says. “Our factory took it one step further and even has a mechanism to collect the excess dust from the air and compress it into boards that can be used to construct more furniture.”
In addition to being environmentally responsible, the company also made sure it was being socially accountable. “Neill Corporation took a strong position by making a project that was devoted to sharing our benefits with supply chain manufacturers,” Goldberg says. The company built 35 biogas units in a village nearby that generates free renewable energy.
“This undertaking really taught us to understand how wonderful and giving these simple projects can be,” says Goldberg.
“Being a part of it has been just amazingly rewarding.”