The Strong and Sustainable Solution for K-12 School Lockers

Satisfy durability demands and sustainability criteria in any school corridor
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Sponsored by Scranton Products
Jeanette Fitzgerald Pitts

Contains Recycled Content

Beyond being fully recyclable, an HDPE locker can contain products that were recycled, which is also referred to as a recycled-content product. This means that the HDPE locker contains items that have been diverted from the traditional waste stream, allowing used items to be re-used in an HDPE locker, instead of ending up in a landfill. The amount of recycled material in a product is typically stated as a percentage. A higher percentage indicates that more of the total product was created from recycled content.

New trends in green building and sustainable design programs are placing a growing emphasis on identifying the stage of use at which the product was sent to become recycled content. This has created different types of recycled content. Most commonly, recycled content is categorized as either post-consumer recycled content or post-industrial recycled content.

HDPE lockers do not require paints or coatings of any kind.

Photo courtesy of Scranton Products. Cologne Academy, Cologne, MN.

HDPE lockers do not require paints or coatings of any kind.

Post-consumer recycled content. Post-consumer material is defined as waste material that has been used by a consumer, disposed of, and diverted from landfills. It does not include waste generated during the manufacture and fabrication of a product.

HDPE lockers can be specified and manufactured to contain up to 100 percent post-consumer recycled material. This is significantly higher than the industry average of traditional metal lockers which contain, on average, up to 34 percent post-consumer recycled content.

Post-industrial/pre-consumer recycled content. For either fun or confusion, two interchangeable terms have emerged to refer to material that is being recycled from manufacturing waste. The two terms are post-industrial and pre-consumer. In either case, it refers to a material that essentially became waste in the manufacturing process of another product and, as such, was never used in an end-user capacity.

HDPE lockers typically contain between 25 percent and 75 percent of post-industrial recycled content. This is again significantly higher than the industry average of post-industrial recycled content found in metal lockers which contain, on average, up to 28 percent post-industrial recycled content.

No Paints, Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants

HDPE lockers are manufactured from a solid plastic material. These lockers do not employ paints, coatings, adhesives, or sealants of any kind. The solid lockers do not emit or off-gas any volatile organic compounds (VOCs) over the course of their usable life.

Significantly Reduce Interior Noise Pollution

The resounding slam of a metal locker is the soundtrack for many school day memories, but new emphasis on acoustical control in the school environment could incentivize designers to minimize the noise pollution created at the locker. Recent tests measured the noise level created by the normal operation of a metal locker at 81 decibels(dB). To put that into context, the American Tinnitus Association identifies an alarm clock (2 feet away) as having a sound level of 80 dB. Alternatively, the noise level created by the normal operation of an HDPE locker was measured at just over 74 dB. This noise level is considered similar to that created by a washing machine or an average radio volume.

In terms of reducing potential noise pollution in the indoor environment, specifying HDPE lockers in a school corridor, instead of metal lockers would create a material difference. It is the difference between a hallway filled with buzzing alarm clocks or a hallway filled with whooshing washing machines. Renee Rudd, principal, Central Valley Academy High School, Ilion, New York, noticed a significant change in the amount of noise in the hallway after the metal lockers were replaced by HDPE lockers. “Before, the hallways were always filled with the metal-on-metal clatter of the locker doors opening and shutting. Now, you don't hear that. You hear the kids talking and you hear movement in the hallway, but you don't hear the rustle of lockers that you used to hear. It is much better.”

Content Transparency

In the quest to create healthier spaces, designers want to know if a product poses a potential risk to the health and well-being of building occupants. They want to know if a product could negatively affect the interior environment and potentially cause an adverse reaction in a person who comes in contact with a product or spends time in the general area of a product. For example, there are thousands of products currently available for specification that emit VOCs, some of which, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), may have short- and long-term health effects. Designers want to be able to consider the potential health impact of a product, before it is specified into a building they are designing.

In response to these rumblings, another aspect of sustainable design gaining momentum is the demand to improve visibility to the potential health impacts that a product may have on building occupants. Non-profit organizations and manufacturers are developing health disclosure tools that highlight the potential impact a product may have on human health and well-being. One of the first health disclosure tools on the market was the Health Product Declaration™ (HPD).

Both the HDPE resin and the pigment ingredients in an HDPE locker have been classified as not hazardous by the OSHA Hazard communication definition.

Photo courtesy of Scranton Products. Danville Elementary School, Danville, PA.

Both the HDPE resin and the pigment ingredients in an HDPE locker have been classified as not hazardous by the OSHA Hazard communication definition.

The HPD contains an itemized list of the ingredients contained within a product and communicates whether or not any particular ingredient has been identified as hazardous or of concern. It should be noted that while the HPD attempts to convey whether or not the product contains any ingredients identified as hazardous, it stops short of addressing whether or not the use of a chemical in a product represents a meaningful risk to the people or the environment. This is an important distinction to make, because it is possible for a product to contain a hazardous material, but present no real risk to the health or well-being of the people manufacturing the product or the finished interior that contains the product. Nonetheless, the HPD does provide improved product transparency in terms of presenting the product contents and is a tool that specifiers, design teams, and building owners can use to make more informed decisions in choosing building products that contribute toward creating a quality interior environment and promoting the health and well-being of its occupants.

Health Product Declaration (HPD). In November 2012, the first open standard format for reporting content and hazards in building products was launched by the Health Product Declaration Collaborative. The Health Product Declaration™ (HPD) Open Standard Version 1 is a standard format that building manufacturers can use to convey the details about hazardous product content, emissions, and associated health information needed by building designers, specifiers and owners to make more informed decisions during product selection.

The HPD gives specifiers visibility into the contents of a product and the potential impact that those ingredients may have on the health and well-being of building occupants.

The HPD gives specifiers visibility into the contents of a product and the potential impact that those ingredients may have on the health and well-being of building occupants.

The HPD is designed to improve the transparency of product contents and facilitate conversations between manufacturers and the specification community about the impact that material selection can have on the quality of the interior building environment and the health of its occupants. The standard reporting format reduces redundant, and sometimes conflicting, reporting formats that product manufacturers have been managing, provides a clear definition of what constitutes disclosure of product contents, and assists interested parties in comparing the formulations of different products.

 

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Originally published in Architectural Record

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