THE PRODUCT: Masa Cabinet Hardware by Eleek, Inc.

Named after Eleek’s favorite Portland sushi chef, Eleek’s Masa Hardware collection made its original debut in January 2007, using 100% recycled aluminum (70% post-consumer content) sourced through Eleek's local foundry. This material was originally collected and processed into billet by a California recycler. In the spring of 2008 The ReBuilding Center, a building material reuse center located less than a mile from Eleek’s North Portland shop, contacted Eleek to see if they could utilize any of the aluminum scrap that the center was processing and recycling, most of it from old storm windows and screen doors. After extensive research (and relentless lobbying of the foundries Eleek uses to cast its aluminum), a partnership was established with The ReBuilding Center; and since March 31, 2008, Eleek’s Masa Cabinet Hardware line has been made completely of aluminum scrap sourced from The ReBuilding Center (100% post-consumer recycled content). The ReBuilding Center provides Eleek with clean aluminum scrap and Eleek coordinates with local foundries to cast it into hardware. After finishing the hardware in-house, Eleek sells it through its network of sustainable building products retailers throughout the U.S., and now in Canada too.

By utilizing locally sourced scrap material for its Masa hardware line, Eleek has reduced the energy required to produce this product, and thereby its carbon footprint. Before, the aluminum content had to be collected, melted, formed into billet and shipped to the foundry (traveling hundreds or even thousands of miles to find its way back to Portland), and then melted again in order to be cast into hardware. Now the scrap can be used directly (melted only once instead of twice) without traveling more than a few miles (from The ReBuilding Center to Eleek is less than a mile; from Eleek to the foundry is less than five miles or less than 30 miles, depending on which foundry is used). The scrap that Eleek buys from The ReBuilding Center would otherwise be sold to a recycler and shipped to China for processing, likely to be shipped back again to the U.S. as raw materials or finished goods. The bottom line is that keeping scrap local saves energy while also reducing greenhouse gases and air pollution.


Eleek co-founder/owner Sattie Clark says, "In our eight years on the path of sustainability, we’ve come to realize that so much of it is about community. For instance, our partnership with The ReBuilding Center really opened our eyes to the complexity of our supply chain. We were already buying more than 80% of our supplies and materials within 50 miles and making all of our products from recycled and recyclable materials. We knew that some of the materials we were buying locally had originated someplace else, but it seemed too remote and vague to try to control. This partnership has not only inspired us to take on deeper accountability for our supply chain, but it’s also reinforced our relationship with our neighborhood (from which we hire employees and buy materials) and Portland’s sustainable business community. Sales of this hardware line contribute to Eleek’s ability to support 19 employees with sustainable, living wage jobs (with excellent health and dental insurance, paid vacations, etc.) and bring out of state revenue back into the community."