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Our rule of three.

Watson’s respect for materials, processes, and planet forms the stable foundation of our environmental philosophy. Everything we make and everything we are as a company emerges from these three intertwined commitments.

Practical Environmentalism

Practical environmentalism is about getting real.

At Watson, we’ve been talking about our philosophy of “practical environmentalism” for years. But to be honest, we still find it tough to explain exactly what we mean by it. In a nutshell, practical environmentalism prioritizes doing environmental good over feeling good about our environmentalism. It’s less about waving a green flag and more about making a real impact and being truly accountable for our choices as a company. It’s complicated, a bit imperfect, and evolving all the time. Which makes it a lot like the natural world we’re here to protect.

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MATERIALS

The heart of the matter.

There’s a method to our materials mindset. First and foremost, we use the cleanest ingredients we can get our hands on – stuff that’s recycled or recyclable; stuff that doesn’t off-gas toxins; stuff that lasts. The deeper the green, the better; red and yellow list materials have no place here. Second, we keep our eyes and ears open to how the materials landscape is constantly changing. New options emerge all the time, which means we’ll forever be on a journey to improve what we use. So watch this space.

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Wood

The NAF (no added formaldehyde) substrate used in our desks and storage components are 92% recycled industrial by-product from Northwest milling operations.

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Steel

The steel used in all Watson products contains both post-consumer and post-industrial recycled content. All of our steel is 100% recyclable.

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Textiles

Watson privacy screens are upholstered in 100% recycled polyester fabric made from reclaimed plastic bottles.

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Laminate

Our GREENGUARD-certified laminates are comprised of phenolic resin and kraft paper and contain 22% recycled content.

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Laminate Option – Linoleum

As an alternative to standard plastic laminates, Watson offers a biodegradable surface finish made from linseed oil, natural pine rosin, wood flour, and color pigments.

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Edge Banding

All edge banding is made from safe, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly polypropylene, which is 100% PVC-free.

PROCESSES

Every step counts.

Around here, how we do things is as important as what, where, and why we do them. As an environmentally minded manufacturer, we take our methods very seriously. Each stage of our process is designed to maximize our ability to reduce, reuse, and recycle. We use nesting algorithms to minimize the materials we need. We reclaim and repurpose powder, sawdust, and water. We recycle everything we possibly can. Then we get downright granular about our waste stream – rethinking each scrap before anything gets tossed. Even if we didn’t operate on a septic system, we’d want to keep the gunk out of the pipes. Literally and figuratively.


Watson uses a no-discharge metal wash process that relies on reclaimed, filtered, and recycled water. This significantly reduces our water usage compared to standard continuous-flow dip tanks.

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Each year, 650,000 pounds of Watson sawdust that would otherwise end up in landfills is compressed into briquettes and used for biofuel.

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Watson uses a septic system instead of the more typical municipal sewer system utilized by most manufacturers. Not flushing waste off to the regional treatment facility gives us a different perspective on what can go down the drain because it all returns to the local water tables.

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Our CNC routing and cutting equipment minimizes material waste with the help of advanced nesting algorithms. All dust and unused wood shavings are repurposed as biomass fuel.

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Scrap is sorted into container recycling bins marked with the dollar value of each material. This reminder drives our constant quest to improve the volume of our waste that we divert away from landfills.

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The salmon-bearing Jump Off Creek and natural wetlands rim the east and west sides of the Orchard. To minimize runoff, we don’t water or fertilize the acreage. We field-mow the grass-and-clover ground cover twice a year for weed mitigation purposes. One of the many rewards of this stewardship: the best organic apples you’ll ever taste.

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PLANET

We pick up after ourselves.

“We believe we should return the Earth in better condition than we found it.”

Clif McKenzie, Watson CEO

Zeroing in on waste.

By some standards, we’re allowed to call ourselves a zero waste to landfill organization. Sounds great, right? But here’s the deal: by those standards any company that tosses less than 10% of its waste can claim this title. And while that’s not bad… it’s not enough. Not to us. Our goal is to be relentless about bringing our numbers down. So we keep working on ways to lighten the dumpster. Ten percent is fine but moving towards zero matters more.

Be Somebody

For well over 30 years, my father picked up roadside trash on his two-mile walk home from work at the shipyard. When I asked him why he’d do such a disagreeable task, his reply was a simple, straightforward, and decidedly uninteresting: “Somebody has to do it.”

But then he chuckled and said, “And I always wanted to be somebody.”

And I learned a lesson I’ll never forget. The heavy lifting in any community is done by those “somebodys” doing the little things. The little things that often go unnoticed but are threads in the fabric that binds communities together. I’m grateful for that lesson and grateful for all those somebodys at Watson who are making their communities and neighborhoods a better place for all.

Clif McKenzie

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