Iowa Prison Industries is focused on providing environmentally friendly or, in today’s buzzword, ‘green’ products and services to our customers. In conjunction with Governor Culver’s Green Government Initiative (Executive Order #6), we have increased our focus on ‘green’ to match our customers' growing demand for environmentally friendly products and services.
Not only do we have a number of products and services available to our customers to assist them in becoming more environmentally friendly, but we are also dedicated to finding more Green raw materials and business practices to decrease our overall impact on the environment.
Green Products & Services Currently Available:
- Green Seal Certified Cleaning Products: With the support of the State of Iowa’s Capitol Complex Facilities & Maintenance Department, Iowa Prison Industries introduced a full line of environmentally friendly Green Seal Certified cleaning products in January of 2008. IPI’s TerraGreen line of environmentally responsible, Green Seal Certified cleaning products is designed to help protect the environment (air, water and atmosphere) as well as the health of the building occupants and cleaning staff. By utilizing less-toxic cleaning chemicals, fewer harmful particulates and toxic substances are released into the environment.
- 100% Biodegradable Plastic Bags: Biodegradable bags are environmentally friendly; not only do they contain at least 30% recycled content, but they will naturally degrade in 9 months to 5 years!
- Plastic Bags with Recycled Content: Over two dozen sizes and styles of plastic bags that IPI offers are produced from Triolefin that contain 30% recycled content, which is in line with all the requirements in the State of Iowa for disposable plastic trash bags. Last fiscal year, over 80% of plastic bags produced and sold contained at least this minimum recycled content or higher.
- Remanufactured Modular Systems: IPI reuses the panel cores and repaints the metal parts of used modular panels, which would otherwise be sent to the landfill. The panels can be recovered with a selection of 100% recycled polyester fabrics.
- Furniture Restoration: Refurbishing services allow our customers to continue to use their timeworn existing furniture instead of purchasing new. IPI offers refinishing and repair of solid wood items, re-upholstery of office chairs or any upholstered piece and refurbishing of metal items.
- Fabric Choices: For upholstered seating & panel products, IPI has a wide array of fabrics for customers to choose from with attributes such as recycled content and/or environmentally-friendly production methods and finishes.
- Printing Services: The IPI Graphic Arts division utilizses recycled paper and soybean-based inks whenever possible.
Waste Reduction In The Shops
- Wood Furniture Production: New machinery and techniques have allowed IPI to reduce its waste in the wood division to virtually nothing compared to the days of old:
- Computerized cuts allows for less waste
- Fingerjoint products are produced from scrap pieces that are joined together into larger pieces (NEW this year)
Unfortunately, it is impossible to eliminate all the waste created when operating a business. However, IPI strives to create as little environmental impact with that waste as possible.
- Central Canteen: In FY08, the IPI Central Canteen recycled 510 bails of cardboard, 180 palette boxes of loose card, 5 palette boxes of plastic, and 1,345 wooden shipping pallets.
- Purchasing: The purchasing department developed a new on-line system of distributing bid and quote requests, greatly reducing the amount of paperwork printed and mailed.
While IPI has taken great strides over the past year to both operate more eco-friendly and offer more Green products to our customers, we will continue to research more options for us and our customers. A few projects we're currently researching:
- GreenGuard certification on seating products
- Manufacture of toilet paper with recycled content
- Recycling of apparel production waste and used uniforms
- Use of clothing fabric produced from recycled yarn
- Continuous research of more environmentally-friendly products and services to better serve the State Of Iowa
Iowa Prison Industries:
Partnering With Our Customers For A Greener Iowa