The Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber awarded its 10th Annual Tahoma Environmental Business Award this afternoon to Tacoma-based Richlite Company for its efforts to preserve and protect the local environment.
The award was presented by sponsor Steve Thomason of Taylor-Thomason Insurance Brokers. Richlite Company, which was founded in 1943 and operates a manufacturing facility in Tacoma’s tideflats area, is a paper-composite surface industry company that produces “Richlite” — a product that starts out as pulp, is turned into paper and is transformed again into a dense, durable and attractive material that can be tooled like wood and used for cutting boards to countertops, exterior wall cladding to flooring, guitar parts and outdoor furniture, and even as outdoor skate ramp surfacing. It’s used for nearly any commercial or residential surface or design accent.
According to the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber, Richlite uses only sustainably-derived resources, pursues environmentally-sound manufacturing and business practices, and works with partners who share in their initiatives to maintain a healthy planet. The company uses paper that is Forest Stewardship Certified and comes from managed forests, is 100 percent recycled from post-consumer waste, or is 50 percent recycled cardboard. In addition, Richlite Company uses a patented manufacturing process where its saturation equipment captures energy from the manufacturing process and recycles it back into the heating system. The company began tracking greenhouse gas emissions in 2005, and set — then exceeded — a five-year goal with a total of 32 percent decrease of carbon dioxide emissions. It was also the first business in Tacoma to obtain its Life Cycle Assessment Environmental Product Declaration and was one of the first businesses in Tacoma to receive a Businesses for an Environmentally Sustainable Tacoma, or “BEST,” award.