TentCraft + Sustainability
Sustainability at TentCraft: How We Make It Better
In a world of disposable products, TentCraft creates products that are made to last. We build our products with a complete focus on durability and back them with a lifetime warranty. This allows for the rebranding of soft goods over time and reduces overall consumption by creating frames that can be used for the long term.
According to Consumption Research Norway (SIFO) , “Extending product life yields a greater environmental impact than any other measure.”
At TentCraft, our sustainability goals are rooted in lean manufacturing. The lean manufacturing process is hyper-focused on eliminating waste in production, be it materials, time, or energy, and the adoption of lean practices has shaped who we are as a company. We believe a focus on sustainability is a natural next step for organizations dedicated to the lean process.
The Power of Aluminum
Our tent frames are manufactured using anodized aluminum, creating long-lasting, corrosion-resistant products. Aluminum tents are both stronger and more lightweight than traditional steel tents, which can rust over time.
Aluminum is an infinitely recyclable material and unlike steel, the process of recycling aluminum requires less energy and time. Aluminum is 100% recyclable and retains its properties indefinitely. It's one of the only materials in the consumer disposal stream that more than pays for the cost of its collection.
Nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use today due to its durability and resistance to corrosion, according to The Aluminum Association.
Partners We Trust
We source our supplies as locally as possible. Both of our aluminum suppliers are located in Michigan and they are committed to using a minimum of 70% recycled aluminum.
We work with businesses in our home base of Traverse City, Michigan, like Beacon Recycling and Grandpa’s Garage, to recycle our metal scrap, down to the aluminum shavings. These efforts have led to us recycling nearly 50,000 pounds of metal since 2019.
Our partnership with upcycling company Priorlife to supply our media wall bags is expected to rescue 1,568 feet of material from the landfill with each order.
We source our wooden counters locally too. This change not only allowed us to switch from plastic counters to a more sustainable wooden version but it reduced the distance shipping-related emissions for this product. A finished counter's travel distance has been reduced from 800 miles down to less than 1 mile! Read more about this project..
TentCraft tents are printed using award-winning, eco-friendly print technology. All canopies and walls are printed on a Durst Rhotex 325 printer that utilizes water-based, dye-sublimation printing technology. Non-water-based printer systems release harmful, volatile organic compounds (VOC). This means we can deliver an exceptionally high-quality print that is more environmentally friendly.
Durst is Greenguard Gold certified and has accreditations in ISO 9001, environment 14001, and occupational health & safety OHSAS 18001.
We use Caldera software to minimize the waste created in printing. This software nests the printed content and reduces the amount of substrate material wasted. The example shows what the same project looks like with and without using content nesting.
We estimate the software can minimize waste between 20% and 30% for our typical custom canopy print runs.
That number should improve as our dedicated print team continues to find new, sustainable innovations for nesting projects.
Sustainable Event Logistics
Never create more than you need. We can store and maintain brand assets in between events and create online portals for field teams to manage key dates and logistics. For brands with numerous locations looking to unify branding and outdoor events, without overproducing assets, this is an ideal option. Sustainability leader REI uses this program which aligns with their responsible production and consumption standards.
REI invested in a kit that's used at every new store opening. The kit, which includes about a dozen different custom tents and structures, is stored at TentCraft until the time of an event. At the completion of the event, REI's team packs and ships the kit either back to TentCraft, or to the next store opening location. This not only cuts down on the creation of new tents and structures, but is also a fiscally responsible strategy when you need to activate multiple events throughout the year in different locations.
TentCraft Sustainability Resources
Upcycling In Action
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
In 2022 we turned our focus to finding ways to reuse the paper generated by our printing process. We hated to recycle our transfer and tissue paper while other businesses spent money on purchasing this exact paper for packing or packaging. We reached out to Traverse City businesses to see it they had a need for paper like ours.
Sustainably minded businesses answered the call, finding an exciting variety of ways to use these materials. See how Black Dog Meadows Flower Farm, Valor Skincare, and PriorLife are upcycling below:
Sustainability Is Our Long-Term Goal
Our long-term goal is to be a certified sustainable company. These are just the first steps in our sustainability journey, and although we know there will be challenges ahead, we will continue to do what we do best and Make It Better. Please reach out to us to learn more about our company or offer suggestions to make our custom tent business even more sustainable.