March 27, 2024

Sustainability at Keystone Ridge Designs

In today’s marketplace, sustainability is more than a buzzword; it's a fundamental principle guiding responsible design and manufacturing practices. As a leading manufacturer of site furnishings and outdoor amenities, sustainability continues to be a priority at Keystone Ridge Designs. We are committed to manufacturing efficiencies, durable construction, and smart usage of materials throughout our operations; not just to maintain sustainable environmental practices but also to sustain our business and the community we support with responsibility. Here are some of our principles, practices, and philosophies that weave the fabric of Keystone Ridge Designs’ sustainability story.

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Durability IS Sustainability

At Keystone Ridge Designs, we believe that durability is not just a feature of our products; it's a commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship. By creating products that are built to last, we are reducing waste, conserving resources, and minimizing our environmental impact. With fully-welded steel products that are warranted to maintain their structural integrity for 20+ years, our products are designed with sustainability in mind. We strive to create durable, timeless designs that will not only stand the test of time and fleeting trends but also have a long lifecycle that prevents the need for frequent replacements.

Picture of Exeter Chairs and Atticus Bench

Durability and longevity are also key factors in reducing maintenance costs. Investing in durable, low-maintenance products upfront not only saves money for our clients, but it also reduces the resources required to maintain, repair, or replace parts over time.

The Circular Economy of Steel

As a manufacturer in Western Pennsylvania, we have a passion for working with steel that is deeply rooted in the traditions of our Pittsburgh region. Steel is one of the most recycled materials globally, boasting high recycling rates. It plays a crucial role in a circular economy, where products are designed with the intention of being reused, remanufactured, or recycled at the end of their life cycle.

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One of the key aspects of steel production that often goes unnoticed is its reliance on steel scrap. The steel industry embraces recycling, allowing for all available scrap to be transformed into new steel.

Our steel site furnishings begin their life cycle with the use of American-made steel derived from steel scrap. Each steel product we manufacture contains a minimum of 90% recycled material. Throughout the manufacturing process, efficient design and cutting techniques minimize scrap pieces of steel and any excess steel scrap is diligently collected and sent locally to be recycled and repurposed to create new steel.

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Similarly, when our products reach the end of their long lifespan, having served various landscapes and public spaces, they can be either recoated to appear brand new or fully recycled back into the steel creation process, thus commencing the cycle anew.

Lean Manufacturing

Lean manufacturing is a systematic method for eliminating waste within a manufacturing system while maximizing productivity. By focusing on creating more value for customers with fewer resources, lean manufacturing aligns perfectly with our sustainability goals.

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One of the key principles of lean manufacturing is the reduction of waste, which can take many forms, including excess inventory, overproduction, defects, and unnecessary transportation. By minimizing these wasteful practices, we reduce our environmental impact and improve our efficiency.

For example, with made-to-order manufacturing that manages inventory levels and production schedules through advanced planning software, we avoid overproduction and reduce the amount of material waste generated. Additionally, by implementing quality control measures throughout the manufacturing process, we minimize defects and ensure that our products meet the highest standards of quality and durability. Also, our manufacturing team embraces 5S principles for operational efficiency, making the most effective use of machine time, resources, and materials.

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Lean manufacturing also emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, encouraging us to constantly seek out ways to streamline our processes and reduce waste even further. In recent years, we have made significant investments in energy-efficient equipment that both improves our output and minimizes energy usage. This commitment to ongoing improvement not only benefits our customers by ensuring that we deliver the best possible products but also helps us minimize our carbon footprint.

Low-emission powder coating

One of the key ways Keystone Ridge Designs contributes to sustainability is through its use of powder coating as a finishing option for our metal products. Powder coating is a low-emission alternative to traditional liquid paint finishes, making it an environmentally friendly choice.

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Unlike liquid paint, which contains solvents that emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere during the curing process, powder coating releases negligible amounts of VOCs. This is because powder coatings are solvent-free and composed of finely ground particles of pigment and resin that are electrostatically sprayed onto the surface of the product. Another environmental benefit of powder coating is its high transfer efficiency. This means that a large percentage of the powder material adheres to the surface of the product during application, reducing waste. Additionally, any overspray that does not adhere to the product is collected and reused.

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Furthermore, powder coating is a durable and long-lasting finish, which helps contribute to the life cycle of products. This durability not only contributes to the sustainability of Keystone Ridge Designs' products but also helps reduce the overall environmental impact of the manufacturing process.

Other Ways We Make an Impact

  • Embracing Digital – We actively implement technology systems and software products that reduce the interoffice flow of paper. We also limit our print marketing tactics to reduce paper usage and have transitioned to a completely online digital catalog.
  • Local Sourcing – To reduce the impact of transportation-related emissions and resource usage, we source all of our raw materials in the US with most materials coming from our local tri-state region.
  • Community Engagement - We believe in giving back to the community and supporting local initiatives that promote sustainability. We regularly support the local 4H organization and the young men and women looking to pursue careers in agriculture.
  • Land Preservation – Keystone Ridge Designs is located on acres of undeveloped land and forests and we remain committed to preserving the beauty of nature around us.

Picture of Exeter Chairs and Atticus Bench

At Keystone Ridge Designs, our products are crafted to enhance outdoor experiences and seamlessly integrate with the beauty of the environment. This connection to nature inspires us to take responsibility for protecting and preserving these spaces for future generations; working towards a better, more resilient future. Sustainability for us is not just about being green though, it’s also about making smart decisions to sustain a business, our community, and the families we support amidst industry changes, environmental challenges, and economic adversity. It’s about being responsible for something bigger than ourselves.