Columbia Forest Products wins EPA
Portland, OR - Columbia Forest Products, in conjunction with Hercules Inc. and Dr. Kaichang Li of Oregon State University, has received a Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for the development and commercialization of its PureBond® formaldehyde-free adhesive system for decorative plywood.
Five awards are given annually. Winning in the category of "Greener Synthetic Pathways," Columbia's PureBond has replaced traditional urea formaldehyde-based adhesives used in the manufacture of hardwood plywood, the decorative panels commonly used to make kitchen cabinets, casegoods and furniture.
The PureBond formula, which consists primarily of soy flour, was invented by Dr. Li to mimic the protein that marine mussels secrete to attach themselves to rocks and other hard surfaces; Hercules adds to it a proprietary resin that gives plywood and composites made with it superior strength and water-resistance.
"Winning this award provides even greater validation to an effort that over the past few years has become a cornerstone of our brand," Columbia CEO Harry Demorest said. "We're very proud to be able to share it with Dr. Li and Hercules."
The company began converting its plants to the formaldehyde-free system in 2005, and now all seven of its North American hardwood plywood mills produce PureBond plywood for distribution across the continent, at a price cost-neutral to conventional formaldehyde-based products. And conversion of the plants replaced 47 million pounds of urea formaldehyde, thereby reducing each mill's emissions of hazardous air pollutants by 50-90 percent.
Each year EPA celebrates innovative, clean technologies through its Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Together the program's award-winners annually:
• Eliminate on average 193 million pounds of hazardous chemicals and solvents - enough to fill a freight train nearly 11 miles long;
• Save over 55 million gallons of water - enough to meet the annual needs of over 2,100 people; and
• Eliminate more than 57 million pounds of carbon dioxide - equal to taking 6,000 automobiles off the road.
Collectively the award-winning and nominated technologies annually reduce the use or generation of more than 1 billion pounds of hazardous materials.
The Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge was created against the backdrop of the 1990 Pollution Prevention Act, which made it national policy to reduce pollution at its source whenever feasible. It was launched in 1995 in partnership with the chemical industry and other stakeholders, with the aim of providing a prestigious award as an incentive to apply scientific solutions to real-world environmental problems associated with the design, manufacture, and use of chemicals. The centerpiece of the program is EPA's hosting of the annual Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Awards. Winners in five categories are recognized each year in an awards ceremony.
The June 26, 2007 awards ceremony at the National Academy of Sciences will mark the 12th year of the awards. Major participants are expected to include the Chairman of the White House Council for Environmental Quality, the President of the National Academy of Sciences, the President of the American Chemical Society, a ranking official from the Small Business Administration, and EPA senior management.
Founded in 1957, Columbia Forest Products is North America's largest manufacturer of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer. Columbia's decorative interior veneers and panels are used in high-end cabinetry, fine furniture, architectural millwork and commercial fixtures. In 2005 the company converted all of its hardwood plywood plants to formaldehyde-free manufacturing processes and introduced PureBond®, the industry's first cost-neutral, formaldehyde-free, decorative hardwood plywood panel. Employee-owned and based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia employs more than 4,000 and operates facilities in locations throughout the United States, Canada and Malaysia.