How Umbra Forever Changed the Business of Dressing Windows
At Umbra, many product ideas start with a personal need or frustration due to lack of availability in the marketplace.- "Les Mandelbaum"
In the late '80s, my apartment bedroom windows had an immediate need for some sort of covering. By that time, we no longer made our original window shades, so I went to the local DIY store and could only find very mundane solutions such as white tracks, ugly drapes, Venetians, etc. - definitely not what I was looking for.
There was a local custom window shop who offered teleocoping rods with standard finials for over $200 and a three-week wait. We thought, why not make it ourselves, put it in a box, and sell to our retailer base? It would be a convenient cash-and-carry solution at a fraction of the cost.
I had already started Trans-Canada Hardware, which was involved in cutting, plating, and die-casting various metal parts... Read More
OUR SUSTAINABILITY MISSION
We've created a plan to better the environment with Eco friendly finishing
PLAN TO OFFER A BETTER ENVIRONMENTAL ALTERNATIVE
Umbra is actively developing and testing other coatings that are a much safer alternative than plating. We will be offering those products initially for window hardware during the last quarter of 2020 at no additional cost with a comparable appearance and durability. Umbra will be identifying those products on its packaging, inserts, websites and social medial with the hope that we can educate our consumers and retail buyers that this alternative is available. We realize that this may be a gradual change as both government regulations get better enforced as well as public awareness.
Many companies may not realize that they are liable for how their precious-metal-bearing waste is handled and, ultimately, for the repercussions if a spill or similar incident were to occur. Because of the inherent risks associated with the processing of hazardous waste, a comprehensive processing plan is essential to protect the environment and individuals handling the materials, and to avoid potential fines or lawsuits. No one is western markets will do it anymore due to safety and liability. In Asian markets they are doing it by either ignoring or corrupting local laws.
DANGER TO THE ENVIRONMENT
The electroplated finishing process requires a lot of “clean” water baths mixed with noxious chemicals and heavy metals to coat the base material. The pollutants through the electroplating industries are invariably hazardous, as the effluents contaminate air, water and soil. The environmental load in electroplating industry mainly comes with process waste water, hydroxide sludge and sulphuric acid. The untreated rinsing water has plenty of waste. Cleaning this water, if it could be done, is economically prohibitive and impractical as it would substantially increase the cost of the product.
Processing of hazardous waste that contains precious metals is a challenge and the responsibility that many electroplating companies face. Cyanide, acid-based solutions, and materials such as plating bath filters and resins, have the potential to cause injury and harm to our environment if not disposed of properly. Some factories in the industries are claiming they have “safe plating” standards however, these are only following EPA guidelines that regulate how to transport and recycle hazardous waste. We believe that generating hazardous waste should be avoided, not transported or recycled.
DANGER TO HUMANS
Throughout the electroplating process, operators are exposed to hazardous chemical vapor, fume and mist that have negative health effects if inhaled. In addition, metal dust is generated which may pose respiratory hazards. Common plating materials include: Chromium.
Learn More About Umbra's Sustainability Mission Here.
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