Recycling and Conservation
We have actively recycled materials from the very start. For us, it is good old-fashioned yankee frugality combined with modernday concern over the use of limited natural resources. In our business there are opportunities to either reuse materials or conserve right from the start.
Wood scraps and sawdust—Naturally we maximize our lumber use, yet invariably some scrap is generated. Instead of sending it to the landfill, we advertise free kindling wood. Local folks stop by on a regular basis and help themselves. We feel good that by-products of our production do not go to waste and can help to keep families warm at night.
Our wood shavings are collected by a large dust filtration system, which drops the waste into a hopper outside. Local farmers take chips and dust to their farms to use for cattle bedding. The farmers are happy to get the bedding needed for free and the cows are happy to have a clean bed. We have “Happy Cows” in Vermont too!
Merchandising—Over-packaging of products is a major waste issue, on top of being costly. For us, less packaging is not a loss of merchandising power, our nice wooden products just aren’t best presented behind layers of indestructible plastic. They can better sell themselves by being fully seen and touched, revealing their own beauty and quality.
Packing & Shipping—You may notice that your orders come in various sorts of boxes and packing materials. We have always reused boxes and packing material for outgoing shipments. We accept packing “peanuts” from the local community. We also accept magazines and junk mail to add to our own paper waste to be shredded for additional packing material. Over 80% of the more than 10,000 cubic feet of picking fill used each year is recycled in this way. In addition, while we must purchase some corrugated cartons, we also reuse thousands of boxes every year.
Donut Boxes—The most interesting recycling-related impact at Maple Landmark are our ubiquitous “donut boxes.” Back in the 1980’s, when Mike’s parents owned a local general store, frozen donuts could be purchased in bulk to be thawed for resale. The heavy corrugated boxes that the donuts arrived in made great trays for storing and transporting all sorts of things. They’ve been so handy that, over time, racks and stands have been sized based on the dimensions of the donut boxes. Sometimes we even find ourselves defining batches based on how many fit in a donut box (150 completed NameTrain letters). The supply of real donut boxes is gone and we now must buy them. With hundreds in use all around the shop, heaven help the person who tries to change the standard! We even sometimes date them to watch how long they are used before wearing out. Usually they cycle around for many years.
Recycling has become a way of life here at Maple Landmark and is vital to the sustainability of our natural resources. It has almost become contagious among our staff and gives them a sense of great pride to work for a company that is mindful of the environment in this world of business waste and consumption.