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Thetford Cooktops: Two Models to Serve RVers

October 6, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thetford cooktops

Thetford cooktops

RVers looking for contemporary appearance and functionality can turn to Thetford Corp. Defining European styling, the company’s England-based subsidiary Spinflo produces upscale cooktops with the utility that owners demand, according to a news release. Two beautiful models, the Top Line (above in photo at left) and Euro (below in photo), provide a unique, decorative accent to any RV kitchen. The elegant Top Line two-burner model features the largest burner spread in its class. Horizontal or vertical layouts are available, as well as various base glass colors and knob styles and colors to add a personal touch. The Euro is a space-saving three-burner model that features the same cooking volume as the competition only in a smaller cutout with less weight (up to 16 pounds less) than traditional cooktops. Its recessed design provides a flush fit to any countertop and it incorporates a glass lid to cover the burners. Both models come with a solid, no-rattle design and their sealed metal burners are cast, not pressed, for improved durability and simpler cleaning. A 12V electronic ignition- and flame-failure, auto-gas shutoff ensure safe operation. Thetford backs each with a two-year limited warranty. Contact Thetford, 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. Toll-free (800) 543-1219 or (734) 769-6000; Fax: (734) 769-2023. info@thetford.com; www.thetford.com.

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Thetford Corp. Named Top RVAA Supplier

September 1, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Distributor members from the Recreational Vehicle Aftermarket Association (RVAA) rated Thetford Corp. and Norcold Inc. as the highest performing Tier-1 supplier for 2010.

RVAA logoThe award is based on how RVAA distributor members rated performance in 14 categories, including marketing, philosophy, delivery, product warranty and customer service, according to a news release.

“On behalf of all the associates of Thetford and Norcold, we would like to express our pride in being recognized as the top-performing Tier-1 supplier,” said Kevin Philips, Thetford vice president of sales and marketing. “We are honored to be recognized for our best-in-class performance as a leading supplier to the RV industry.”

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thetford Corp. is the world’s leading supplier of sanitation and refrigeration products for the recreational vehicle, marine and heavy-duty truck industries.

Thetford subsidiaries include Norcold, America’s leading manufacturer of gas-absorption refrigerators and freezers for the RV, marine and truck markets; Tecma, a producer of fine-china toilets and powerful waste-transfer systems based in Italy; and Spinflo, a unit in England that manufactures high-quality cooking and heating appliances as well as accessories.

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CalARVC Regroups After Holding Tank Veto

August 25, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoMuch to the surprise of the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed bill AB 1824, which would have banned the use of certain holding tank deodorants utilized in waste facilities and toilets on boats and RVs.

The law’s intent was to protect campground owners, their guests and Californians at large from potential hazardous effects from products containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformadelhyde and paradichlorobenzene.

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC director, told RVBUSINESS.com that due to the large amount of chemical-related bills presented to the California legislature in recent years, the governor created the Green Chemistry Initiative. The initiative is a way to better address these bills through scientific research done by the Department of Toxics and Substance Control (DTSC).

The DTSC previously told CalARVC it would be taking on more broadly affected chemicals first before they addressed AB 1824, since it concerned a smaller niche market.

Sipe said CalARVC knew this was a risk when it submitted the bill for consideration, but still felt hopeful after it passed through all other levels of legislation with huge bipartisan support and only three nay votes.

“The governor vetoed it because he wants all of this to go through the Green Chemistry Initiative,” Sipe said. “We had lobbied the governor’s office and had letters to his office and we were hoping we could get through because we are a smaller niche.”

Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) opposed the bill – essentially urging the state of California to back up their reasons with science that proves these chemicals are fouling up septic systems.

In response to the veto, Kevin Phillips, Thetford’s vice president of sales and marketing, stated, “RVIA and other concerned industry organizations rallied together and helped to provide education and understanding regarding this bill. Without them, this veto, which preserves consumer choice in RV deodorants, may not have been achieved.”

CalARVC will hold a meeting to discuss its next steps and will be asking manufacturing companies to do their best to push and promote organic-based products.

“We failed in our efforts, but we hope the manufacturers will back the campground industry and help support us,” Sipe said.

CalARVC also plans to submit a list of green-based products as the recommended guide for consumers and will be adding an educational section to its website to educate people about environmentally-friendly products.

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Thetford Offers Summer Sales Incentives

July 29, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thetford toiletsHelping RV owners upgrade their bathrooms, while providing great savings, many retail locations are offering special incentives on Thetford permanent toilets. Consumers who purchase Thetford’s Aqua-Magic V, Bravura, Style II, Style Plus, Aria Classic, or Aria Deluxe II models can benefit from rebates or product add-ons for summer 2010. Details are available through participating dealers and retail stores. From the finest china to the most economical, the company’s line of toilets complements any RV. With ergonomic and water-saving features, users are assured of a comfortable, elegant and trouble-free experience from the leader in RV sanitation. Contact Thetford, 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. (800) 543-1219 or (734) 769-6000; Fax: (734) 769-2023. info@thetford.com; www.thetford.com.

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Yourman: Thetford Senior Product Manager

July 19, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Derry Yourman

Derry Yourman

Derry Yourman has joined Thetford Corp. as a senior product manager.

Kevin Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing, said Yourman is responsible for managing the industry-leading Thetford sanitation products’ brands and line-up.

Yourman has an extensive background in product management. His experience includes both the development of new product lines, from concept to launch, and the continuous improvements to existing product lines. He joins Thetford after more than 12 years at Brass Craft Manufacturing, a Masco Co. based in Novi, Mich. Initially a marketing coordinator, he served as product manager there for the past decade. Prior to that, he worked at Nordhaus Research in Southfield, Mich.

A native of the greater Detroit area, Yourman holds a bachelor of science in business administration degree from Central Michigan University. He, wife Kathryn and their two sons reside in nearby Canton.

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RVIA & Dometic Oppose California Legislation

July 1, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

More opposition has emerged to AB 1824, a controversial California bill that would ban the use of holding tank products containing six specific chemicals – bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, paraformaldehyde and paradichlorobenzene.

To date, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., a manufacturer of holding tank chemicals for both the marine and RV markets, had been the only vocal opponent to the proposed legislation.

Now, Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a Thetford competitor, would specifically like the inclusion of bronopol pulled from the bill, and the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) has stepped up to oppose the bill in its entirety.

RVIA’s position is apparently similar to that of Thetford’s in that both are asking the state of California for better science – more proof – that these chemicals are fouling up septic systems in the state. Thetford contends that use patterns – the fact that many people often dump holding tanks in a short period of time – is a more serious root cause of septic system problems.

“We do not feel that we have been shown any science that shows that the six chemicals that are being banned are going to address the problem,” said Diane Farrell, RVIA vice president of government affairs. “It seems like a remedy and yet we have not seen the right data pointing us to the problem at hand. California is a leader in the green movement, and one of the premises of that is to get chemicals into the hands of the scientists and this seems to be avoiding that process.”

The bill is moving swiftly, having passed out of both the Senate Toxics and Environmental Quality and Appropriations committees in the last two weeks. Next it goes to the full Senate and then, if it passes, to the California governor’s desk for a signature. Estimates are that that could happen by August or September at the latest.

Meanwhile, one of the most ardent proponents of the bill, the California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC), is unswayed by RVIA’s opposition and Dometic’s request to pull bronopol from the bill.

“Dometic has put a letter in opposition suggesting that bronopol be pulled from the bill and that is when we had to dig deeper into the science,” explained Debbie Sipe, executive director for CalARVC.

According to Sipe, the California Department of Toxics and Substance Control has looked into this question, but is coming up with inconclusive results. So, CalARVC will continue to support the bill as it stands.

“Fundamentally all chemicals, even green chemicals, have a risk associated with them,” explained Ed McKiernan, Dometic director of development for product sanitation at Dometic’s plant in Big Prairie, Ohio. “When you ban chemicals and just say ‘this is banned,’ you don’t know what all the consequences could be. In the case of this law, one of my biggest fears is that it is going to cause more difficulty and more harm to campground septic systems than if the law didn’t happen.”

In fact, McKiernan claims banning these chemicals, which come from a list assembled 10 years ago by Dr. Katherine Farrell-Poe, PhD, of the University of Arizona, will have virtually no positive effect on the environment.

“The level of bronopol that is used in a 40-gallon tank will virtually have no impact on a septic system based on studies that have been done at sewage treatment plants,” McKiernan explained. “At the time the list was put together it was thought that bronopol was another name for formaldehyde, and it’s not. There has been a lot of research done and it is clearly a different product. Bronopol is a good chemical because it is cost-effective, does a good job of odor control at high temperatures and has very minimal environmental impact.”

McKiernan said RV owners can – and often do – use alternative products that contain ammonium compounds, calcium nitrates or enzymes/bacteriological kinds of additives.

“The difficulty with those three alternatives is there are issues with biodegradability and odor control,” he said. “Nitrates are not removed when they go to the septic tank. They go into the leach field. You are going to be adding more nitrates and causing a bigger problem for the environment.”

Some of the greener products generally don’t work at high temperatures, according to McKiernan, and in the state of California where high temperatures are the norm, he maintained, fighting bad odors could become a way of life for the RV enthusiast.

When you take away products containing bronopol, McKiernan maintained, RV owners will likely start using homemade concoctions containing things like Drano or bleach, which kill all the bacteria in a septic system. “This will have a very negative environmental effect,” he said.

“We want to do the right thing environmentally, but we want to do the right thing by giving the RV owner products that work in high temperatures,” McKiernan added.

McKiernan would like to see California do an in-depth study on bronopol to gain a clearer understanding before passing the bill as it stands.

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California Bill Revives Old Formaldehyde Debate

May 24, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

CalARVC logoThe California Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (CalARVC) has taken an aggressive stance in support of state legislation banning the sale of RV and marine holding tank products containing six chemicals – most notably formaldehyde — on the premise that these substances threaten ground water quality.

That bill (AB 1824) unanimously (73-0) passed out of the full Assembly in mid-May and went to the Senate Toxics and Environmental Quality Committee for a hearing sometime in June.

“This means it is one more hurdle in the process,” remarked CalARVC Executive Director Debbie Sipe, who has been outspoken in advocating the proposed holding tank chemical ban and feels the bill has a good chance of moving through the Senate Appropriations Committee, then the full Senate and, finally, across the California Governor’s desk by August or September.

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director

Debbie Sipe, CalARVC executive director

“We’ve got some strategies to get more support for the bill, but we are not disclosing all of that right now,” Sipe told RVBusiness.

“Toxic chemicals, like those used in many common RV toilet additives, kill the natural bio-organisms and cause the septic systems to fail, causing sewage to seep into surrounding soil and groundwater,” CalTIA legislative advocate Teresa Cooke wrote in a letter to Felipe Fuentes, chairman of the Assembly Appropriations Committee. “AB 1824 will help keep the state’s groundwater clean, and benefit hundreds of small businesses throughout the state, potentially saving them tens of thousands of dollars that would otherwise be spent on repairing or replacing their parks’ septic systems.”

Nineteen chemicals already are banned in state regulations. “AB 1824 will simply clarify that six additional chemicals cannot be used in RV toilet additives for the same reasons as the 19 currently banned,” Cooke said.

Taking a vocal position against the bill is Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp., which markets a complete range of RV and marine sanitation products from toilets to waste evacuation systems to holding tank additives, including some affected by the potential ban and some not targeted by California legislation – including an array of third-party-certified, formaldehyde-free Eco-Smart holding tank deodorants and additives.

Kevin Phillips, Thetford. Corp.

Kevin Phillips, Thetford. Corp.

Thetford’s contention is that California’s proposed law is a bit overzealous with regard to formaldehyde-type products and doesn’t take into account some of the general habits of the camping public and the functionality of many septic systems. And the company has been trying to get that message across.

“We are trying to get a broader discussion going about this,” Kevin Phillips, vice president of sales and marketing, told RVBusiness in a recent interview. “This might move very quickly through the legislative process in California and miss the key issues. CalARVC has been dealing with issues around their sanitation systems for years. This goes back decades that they’ve been having struggles with their legislative entities about their septic systems and their wastewater treatment plants.

“From time to time, we’ve been providing them with data, information, resources, and education, trying to help them navigate that problem,” Phillips added. “We are very sympathetic to the issues California campgrounds are facing. We just don’t think the bill they put in place is going to solve those problems.”

The bill puts the focus on deodorants and holding tank additives, and Phillips maintains that that’s not the main issue. “You’re out for a holiday weekend and everybody leaves Memorial Day Monday and they all dump at once,” he explained. “So you get a very large volume of very highly concentrated waste entering the system. These systems are very sensitive to both the organic load and the volume of waste. They also have to be properly maintained. They have to be properly sized, the waste has to be metered in so that it’s not hitting all at once in a short period of time, and you’ve got to monitor these systems.”

Thetford’s Mary Burrows, manager of chemical development, also doesn’t believe that the ban, as proposed, is the answer. “The products we are talking about and the two that are used most predominantly, formaldehyde and bronopol, are actually biodegradable,” she explained. “They don’t exist in a properly functioning system after a period of time.”

Burrows, for her part, suspects that the real issue concerns misuse.

“Eliminating deodorant is not looking at the real problem,” she said. “What they need to address, at least look at and make sure, is that their systems are sized and operated properly so we can verify what the problem is. Again, we need data. Right now there are just assumptions.”

Phillips, on the other hand, agrees that Thetford doesn’t have enough scientific evidence itself to point to the exact problems California campgrounds are facing. “That’s the part we find to be very short-sighted about pushing this bill through so quickly with this one approach,” he countered. “There’s been no data presented, there have been no studies, no analysis that we know of that say that the deodorant actually causes the problems in the systems in these campgrounds.

“What we have seen is some studies that say the septic systems aren’t working,” he added. “We know that people have been cited for that, even though the citations were later removed. But it’s about the outflow of the system, not what’s going into it. That’s what we are saying. This is kind of a rush to judgment, a rush to a conclusion that is a bit unseemly.”

Phillips, in summary, feels that California needs to do more homework and then work together to solve the problems campgrounds are facing. Just how far Thetford gets with that position, however, remains to be seen because Sipe and her allies in this legislative effort apparently aren’t backing off.

“We know there are additional issues with septic systems and that solids are a concern and we hope to be able to work with Thetford in the future,” said Sipe. “But when all is said and done, formaldehyde is a preservative and you don’t want that in a septic system. You don’t want a product that is eating up the natural bacteria in a septic system.”

Sipe says she’s well aware that, along with formaldehyde-based products, Thetford markets “green” holding tank deodorants and additives that are third-party certified as environmentally safe. “Thetford’s two green alternatives are awesome alternatives that folks are using,” she noted. “Camping World recently had a sale on both of these green Thetford products and Thetford’s traditional (formaldehyde) Aqua-Kem. “The Aqua-Kem shelf was mostly full while the green alternative shelf was half empty. There is already a natural movement toward the greener products by the consumer.”

Time will tell what occurs with the current legislation. But Sipe is already planning on life after the ban is passed. “When this bill passes,” she said, “our goal will be to put out huge amounts of education throughout the entire country that these products are not allowed in California.”

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EcoSmart: New Choice for Holding Tanks

May 6, 2010 by · 1 Comment 

Lineup of Thetford's EcoSmart products.

Lineup of Thetford's EcoSmart products.

Green holding tank deodorants and cleaners are an important market segment for Thetford Corp. Although its current formaldehyde-free holding tank deodorant lineup, SupremeGreen, has a strong market presence nationally, Thetford has replaced it with an even smarter environmental choice, EcoSmart. ”The upgrade is part of the company’s continuous improvement program,” according to Kevin Phillips, Thetford vice president of marketing and sales. “Our customers want to be sure we are meeting higher standards and delivering products that provide them a meaningful choice in the market.” EcoSmart is third-party certified and meets the stringent criteria of North America’s oldest, most respected environmental standard and certification agency EcoLogo. An EcoSmart formulation has already been successfully marketed throughout Europe for over 20 years and in Canada for almost 10 years. Providing 70% better odor control than other products in the “green” category, EcoSmart quickly breaks down waste and tissue to prevent messy clogs. The EcoSmart product line is available in formaldehyde-free and enzyme formulas to better meet the needs of individual outdoors enthusiasts. Both liquids are offered in 32- and 64-oz. bottles, while the formaldehyde-free formula also comes in toss-in form for the ultimate convenience and one-gallon bottles. Contact Thetford, 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. (800) 543-1219 or (734) 769-6000; Fax: (734) 769-2023. info@thetford.com; www.thetford.com.

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Thetford Corp. Honored as Product Innovator

February 22, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thetford's EcoSmart product line

Thetford's EcoSmart product line

Green has become a popular word to use when describing new products, but Thetford Corp. is one of the few companies to have proof of its commitment to the environment, according to a news release.

The company recently won a Going Green Award from Corp! magazine. Thetford was recognized as a Green Industry Innovator for its development of green cleaning formulas for RVers.

Corp!’s Going Green Awards include three categories: Green Initiative Champions, Green Industry Innovators and Green Organizations. Eight of Thetford’s RV care products are Design for the Environment (DfE)-recognized. The DfE program was started by the EPA to champion risk reduction through pollution prevention.

Thetford also introduced EcoSmart, a full line of EcoLogo-certified holding tank deodorants. EcoLogo is North America’s oldest, most recognized environmental standard and certification agency.

“Our product formulations were thoroughly tested in-house and with RVers,” said Mary Burrows, Thetford’s manager of chemical development. “Our products are held to a higher standard than household products by the EPA because they’re used outside. We were able to create formulations according to the EPA’s requirements without sacrificing performance. We’re very proud that Corp! recognized that achievement.”

Founded in 1998, Corp! magazine provides features, news and profiles with a Michigan emphasis. It’s Michigan’s largest business magazine.

Headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich., Thetford Corp. is the world’s leading supplier of sanitation and refrigeration products for the recreational vehicle, marine and heavy-duty truck industries. Thetford is a privately held company with eight manufacturing facilities in four countries.

Thetford subsidiaries include Norcold, America’s leading manufacturer of gas-absorption refrigerators and freezers for the RV, marine and truck markets; Tecma, a producer of fine-china toilets and powerful waste-transfer systems based in Italy; and Spinflo, a unit in England that manufactures high-quality cooking and heating appliances as well as accessories.

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Thetford Corp.: Multi-Purpose Stain Remover

February 11, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Thetford stain remover (big)Just as RVers update their older rigs to make them look like new, Thetford Corp. is doing just the same with one of its best-selling cleaners. The company’s Mildew Stain Remover is now renamed Multi-Purpose Stain Remover, better highlighting how it can easily eliminate many different stains. This cleaner still features the same DfE-recognized formula with an added oxygenating power. Color-safe on all fabrics and materials, it’s perfect to use on awnings, rubber moldings, canvas, vinyl and almost all other surfaces. It also won’t harm finishes or decals. The Multi-Purpose Stain Remover is chlorine-free and can serve as a laundry pre-spot, getting rid of spaghetti sauce, chocolate, blood stains and felt-tip pen marks. On carpet and upholstery, it helps remove cranberry juice, dirt, grease, pet, coffee and crayon stains. The Multi-Purpose Stain Remover is available in a 32-fluid ounce recyclable spray bottle. Contact Thetford, 7101 Jackson Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103. (800) 543-1219 or (734) 769-6000; Fax: (734) 769-2023. info@thetford.com; www.thetford.com.

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