BOSTON - Furniture maker Ethan Allen Operations and OMNOVA Solutions Inc., a manufacturer of decorative laminates and upholstery fabrics, were among companies, organizations and individuals to receive 2012 Environmental Merit Awards from the Region 1 Environmental Protection Agency of New England.

The awards recognize "outstanding efforts in preserving New England environments."

Ethan Allen, OMNOVA Solutions Lauded by EPAEthan Allen of Danbury, CT, manufactures hardwood furniture in Orleans and Beecher Falls, VT. EPA said Ethan Allen "is a working example of what happens when a company brings business together with community involvement, sustainable forestry practices and environmental leadership."

EPA said Ethan Allen's two Vermont furniture plants reduced air pollutant emissions of the last 10 years by 95 percent, and 234,800 pounds. "The company's commitment to using more eco-friendly chemicals in its finishes has reduced air pollution and hazardous waste generation. Ethan Allen Operations also works to maintain sound relationships with suppliers to increase productivity while reducing waste and emissions<" EPA noted.

"On a larger level," EPA said, "Ethan Allen leads the way in environmental, health, and safety standards, working to integrate business objectives while ensuring the safety of employees and protecting the environment. The company's efforts in New England have provided a model for its factories in North Carolina, New Jersey, Mexico and Honduras. As a leader in sustainable furniture manufacturing, Ethan Allen is known for its quality products and positive business culture."

OMNOVA Solutions Inc. of Fitchburg, MA, operates a manufacturing plant for upholstery fabrics and laminates in Framingham, MA. OMNOVA "embraces the triple bottom line to consider the people, planet, and profit while doing business," EPA said. "The company's commitment to sustainable technology and design are outlined in Vision 2014, an initiative to reduce the environmental impact of operations and increase the use of sustainable products,

"New features and marketing measures include bio-based and recycled content, reduced VOC emissions, product reclamation programs and reduced packaging materials. The company also has pledged to reduce its total energy consumption by 25 percent or more over the next 10 years. These voluntary measures deliver energy efficiencies, hazardous waste and material scrap reductions, and recycling measures," EPA added.

OMNOVA also was cited for its philanthropic contributions to the community, including providing more than $27,000 a year to local educational, health and welfare and civic groups since 1998.

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