Reduce, Re-Use, Recycle - Not Just for Earth Day!

"The Labyrinth Company" is our trade name. When we send physical invoices to clients they often ask about our legal name, Prism Environmental Group. Starting in 1993 we developed recycling and waste reduction programs for a wide range of companies, though we have sold off those business lines over the years. And once clients know of our past work, they naturally ask about our ecological impacts and practices in the labyrinth space.

Earth Day Walk 2018 - Chelsea Labyrinth - American University in Washington DC

So on Earth Day I'm sharing the practices we've followed to minimize our ecological footprint while fabricating and building labyrinths since 1995. Some of these techniques may help other business owners re-think their approaches and - happily - reduce their costs.

The first and highest level is to reduce materials used, encourage vendors to incorporate recycled content, and reduce packaging wherever feasible.

Over the years we've re-engineered our paver labyrinth kits multiple times, reducing paver waste by 35% in the fabrication shop while also improving the ease of installation for our clients. Software upgrades enable us to optimize the layout and cutting of stone slabs to minimize waste as we produce these specialty kits. We design and schedule our printed products - poly canvas mats and garden labyrinth templates - to very efficiently utilize the fabric rolls we purchase. And about 10 years ago we converted our printing system to use eco-solvent inks with almost no volatile compounds.

Most of our input materials incorporate recycled content, including concrete pavers, carpet tiles, polyester canvas, polyester garden labyrinth templates, mylar tracing stencils and kraft stencils. And we purchase fabrics and stencil films in bulk, significantly reducing packaging and transportation.

Re-Use is the next best choice, and clients often comment on our creative re-uses of packaging. Cores from in-bound fabrics are re-used as cores in our garden labyrinth templates and stencil sets. Outer wraps from fabric rolls are sliced open, reversed so the manufacturer names are obscured, and used to wrap out-bound garden labyrinth templates. Boxes from in-bound vinyl stencil materials are used to ship out mylar tracing stencil sets. And boxes from all of our purchased materials - printer ink, machine parts, office supplies - are re-used to box out-bound shipments of poly canvas labyrinths, stencil sets and material samples. 

Note that these practices do not lend themselves to the current consumer fascination with "unboxing" rituals. We'd rather find ways to re-use and reduce packaging, not be the subject of videos celebrating unnecessary consumption and waste.

Paver kits, stone slab arc kits, and floor tiles are each shipped out on the pallets the materials arrived on.

And finally we recycle most of the rest. Paver and stone cutting waste becomes clean fill for construction sites. Damaged boxes and office papers go into our local municipal recycling program to become new paper and packaging products.

We hope this helps you think about ways to reduce your ecological footprint!

David Tolzmann
David Tolzmann


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