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Berkline Unveils "Green" Initiatives

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Berkline announced that distinctive “Berkline Green” tags are appearing in showroom floors across America on multiple Berkline products as the more than 75-year-old furniture maker expands its environmentally friendly product offerings and manufacturing processes. Berkline’s environmental emphasis is good – and responsible – business, said Bill Wittenberg, president and chief executive officer. “What we’re doing is good for the customer, good for Berkline dealers, and the right thing for our company,” said Wittenberg. Environmentally directed steps taken by Berkline include: • Converting to foam cushioning that includes plant-based renewable materials to reduce petroleum content. • Using excess foam by grinding it up as filler for use in new products. • Unveiling ‘Eco-suede,’ manufactured with 17 percent recycled materials. • Incorporating bonded leather into some of its products, thus making valuable use of leather remnants that have been routinely discarded by furniture manufacturers. • Using sawdust left over from the manufacturing process to help heat factories in winter. “The cumulative effect of these actions adds up to significant environmental results,” Wittenberg said. “We’ve learned, as has the country, that saving, reusing, recycling and rethinking how we do things make for good practices and good business.” A variety of Berkline products today contain Foamex Reflex Natural foam, which replaces much of the petroleum content of traditional foam. With soy as a principal ingredient, Foamex describes its product as a, “unique, highly durable flexible polyurethane foam made partially from plant-based renewable raw materials.” Foamex produces the foam with zero emissions. In addition, Berkline grinds excess foam and uses it as filler for new products, creating less waste and additional environmental advantages. “These methods and processes enable us to maintain Berkline’s quality standards while cutting the need for petroleum products,” said Bruce Sinning, senior vice president of merchandising. “In today’s world, using less oil is a positive all around.” In April, Berkline introduced products made with Eco-suede, which contains 17 percent recycled material. Eco-suede is a new fabric, a polyester fiber made from recycled textiles and plastic bottles. Plastic is ground into flakes. Fiber is created from the flakes, and then spun into yards for weaving into fabric. “Eco-suede so closely resembles true suede leather it can be hard for the non-expert to tell the difference,” Sinning said. “Each yard of fabric represents one 2-liter soda bottle, so a typical reclining sofa saves 16 plastic bottles from going to a landfill. Incorporating Eco-suede into Berkline’s product line is giving customers an excellent, family-friendly product with environmental benefits.” Bonded leather represents a huge recapture of previously discarded leather left over after being cut for chairs, sofas and other products. Bonded leather is a combination of polyurethane and leather shavings. The leather shavings combined with several chemicals form a backing for a polyurethane surface embossed to simulate the look and feel of leather. The result: an economical substitute for leather on upholstered furniture. As part of its environmental rethinking, Berkline decided that the mounds of sawdust generated from manufacturing operations could be employed helping to heat its Morristown, Tennessee manufacturing facilities in winter. “The sawdust created in our manufacturing process is used to create steam heat for our factory in the winter,” Sinning said. “This also serves as supplemental heat for our corporate offices. This saves money, eliminates waste, reuses a resource and helps keep our workplaces comfortable.” Additional Berkline recycling efforts involve: • The massive amounts of cardboard used in packaging the variety of materials shipped into the Berkline plant. • The plastic wrapping covering thousands of rolls of fabric arriving at the factory annually “When I consider how much material is now being re-used instead of tossed out, it’s substantial and meaningful,” said Sinning. “It won’t change the world on its own, but it’s a contribution of which we’re proud.” Berkline’s initiatives to this point are not a conclusion, but a process that is examined, analyzed and expanded continually, Bill Wittenberg said. “We see Berkline Green a benefit to our customers and as smart business, certainly, but we also want to make an environmental contribution,” said Wittenberg. “We are building Berkline’s future and, we hope, helping in some way to make a difference for the future of our communities and our country.” About Berkline: Berkline has been a leading manufacturer of reclining furniture for more than 75 years. Berkline specializes in motion, home theater, and upholstered furnishings. The company’s headquarters is in Morristown, TN. For more information about Berkline and its products, please visit www.berkline.com

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