October 10, 2023

Vision becomes sustainable reality

As informed customers, we know to look for the hallmarks of sustainability as well as for locally sourced and produced. In turn, manufacturers and merchandisers are aware that potential customers seek green credentials. This is all good news for planet Earth, but consumers do need to differentiate between businesses simply making a virtue-signalling token gesture for a competitive marketing edge, and those who really walk the talk.

Making a longstanding business greener is a different proposition than that for a start-up. It requires dedication to the goal, financial investment, examination of existing systems, often significant upheaval, and gritty persistence in the face of opposing ideas and difficult or painful transitions.

One venerable local company deserves huge accolades for committing to increasing sustainability both in the work it does, and the way it works. MF Turnbull has always been ahead of the curve with its longstanding reuse, repair, and recycle ethos. Year on year the team continue to reduce their environmental footprint.

For more than 30 years they have been refinishing kitchens, furniture, and furnishings to give new life and reduce waste to landfill. In 2020, the company enhanced its green credentials, working with suppliers to start phasing out solvent-based products in favour of waterborne applications. “It’s so much better for the environment, and for our operations team,” says director Monique Turnbull.

The latest step is installation of solar panels into the main building. In just four weeks they have saved the equivalent of 1.94 tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of planting three trees.

Monique is finding resurfacing kitchen cabinetry is more popular every year. “People realise they don’t need to do a full replacement, they can make a radical change, a shade adjustment, or simply freshen the existing colour. They save themselves money, and of course volume going to landfill,” she says.

Resurfacing old furniture is a favourite. A client will bring in a piece with lovely proportions, beautifully made, but the appearance no longer suits. Refinished, the piece can anchor a new interior design scheme. Upholstered items with timber parts can be resurfaced and then the piece can be taken to your upholsterer for recovering.

“We are currently doing a hotel in Queenstown. All the loose furniture such as bedside cabinets, desks and luggage racks are being refurbished,” says Monique. “They are coming up beautifully, it seems completely mad to think they could have been thrown away and replaced with new.”

The team thrives on challenges and loves it when an unusual request comes in. “The test can lie in bringing out of people’s heads the vision that they have. By talking through the end goal using samples and options, the team is very good at turning visions into reality,” says Monique.


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