Baby blue jays in their nest
Baby Blue Jays photo by Simeon Yemm

About YEMM & HART – Pioneers in Eco Materials

Eco Materials will not harm the environment during their manufacture or use. In 1989 Stephen and Deborah Hart Yemm introduced their first eco material to the Architectural & Design community. Their material was a multicolored plastic panel made entirely out of recycled milk jugs and detergent bottles. The Steelcase Design Partnership introduced this new material to their audience with their ‘New Materials for the 90s’ tour. Yemm & Hart named their compression molded recycled plastic “Origins” because a design customer once wrote that the material acknowledged its origins.

Early Accomplishments

The first group of customers for Origins were artists and aspiring furniture designers. Therefore, Yemm & Hart designed and managed an event for these customers called the Green Seating Tour. Some 30 unique pieces of furniture created by each artist and designer using the Origins material traveled around the United States to various large architectural firms, such as HOK & Gensler. The purpose, as one of their hosts said, was to ‘plant little green mind seeds’ into the consciousness of the professionals responsible for designing our society’s buildings. This was a hopeful step toward the goal of a waste-free society. During this time, YH learned how to perfect the quality of the Origins panels. They also introduced numerous other eco materials with equally high-recycled content. Some of these were Junkmail Board, Thinpoly, Colorspex, Tire Veneer, Rubbertex, Flexisurf and Wine Cork Tiles.

Commercial Eco Material Contribution

Over time, the A & D community settled on Origins and Tire Veneer because they were the most significantly useful eco materials for the built environment. Origins is recognized nationwide as perfect for commercial restroom partitions, especially to brighten typically dreary rooms. Corporate retail customers often order counter and tabletops made with Origins to make a unique design statement. Origins also allowed them to prove they could use materials with recycled content to good effect and help preserve our environment. All manner of businesses have used Tire Veneer a resilient flooring material because of its tough and long-lasting attributes. Designers in Canada, Great Britain, Holland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Japan, Australia and New Zealand have used YH materials for some of their projects over the years.

Peace & Harmony

The Yemms live and work in Madison County, Missouri within the Mark Twain National Forest. They support the Black Lives Matter movement and indeed, equality for all people. They do not commute and find great tranquility in their surroundings. This includes trees, wildflowers, springs, streams, and all manner of native wildlife. The Yemms manage their forest according to the latest Missouri Department of Conservation guidelines. They are restoring an 1899 one-room schoolhouse that is located on their land. Deborah is a writer and blogger. The Yemms strive to have a positive effect on the environment by what they do and how they live.

Monacrh butterfly feeding on red clover.
Monarch Butterfly photo by Treston Yemm

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