One company’s waste could be another’s treasure

It’s one thing to make a great product. It’s another thing to feel good about it.

So many Vermont manufacturers make amazing products that are useful, positively promote the Vermont name, better the economy, provide jobs and more. There is just something about making something that someone needs and someone will appreciate that is special. But it’s also no secret that manufacturers, like most businesses, generate waste.

At high-end, corporate furniture manufacturer WallGoldfinger in Randolph, there is an effort underway to divert waste – namely plywood, MDF and veneer scraps – away from the landfill to other Vermont businesses and organizations that could use them. ReSOURCE in Burlington and Green Mountain Drums and the Vermont Woodworking School, both in Cambridge, are benefiting from the program.  In short, WallGoldfinger’s waste is providing raw materials to ReSOURCE that help the non-profit financially and provide job training to those in poverty. Vermont Woodworking School students – future woodworkers – get supplies they’d otherwise have to pay for. And Green Mountain Drums, a small niche business, gets help starting a new product line.

For WallGoldfinger, the program is pretty effortless. Waste is saved from the Dumpster and bundled on pallets. The various companies and organizations come and pick it up. In return, WallGoldfinger saves a bit on waste costs and even earned a Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence for the program at a ceremony at the Statehouse in April 2016.

The award earned the company some positive PR, which is always good. That, of course, is not what it’s about.

WallGoldfinger sits next to a river, a golf course and a town forest. Its employees live in surrounding rural communities. They drive dirt roads and see mountain views in their daily travels. They walk or bike at lunch. In short, they enjoy the beautiful, natural environment in which they live and work – and they want to keep it that way.

So setting aside waste to be reused? Recycling other materials? Using high-efficiency lighting and motors? Reducing emissions? Heating with wood chips? Yeah, those are all no- brainers for this Vermont company of 45 years.

Could your company be doing more? Are you generating a waste product from which another company or organization could benefit? Could you, too, feel good about not just creating a great product, but a great waste product that provides training and jobs and helps sustain our beautiful landscape?

There’s only one way to find out. Well, maybe four.

1) Identify your waste.

2) Identify benefactors.

3) Make connections.

4) Start helping.

The above article was provided by Robin Palmer, Director of Communications at WallGoldfinger, located in Randolph, VT.  Robin is a writer as well as a former newspaper reporter.