In the North Country in the days before horses, a team of three yoke of oxen, hitched tandem, was ordinarily used to haul logs to the river. It took a skillful teamster about two months to break in a green team. The Minnesota ox-teamster used not a whip, but a goad, a straight stick about four feet long, five-eighths of an inch thick at the butt, one-half inch at the tip, with a sharp brad one-half inch long fixed in its tip. Many teamsters punished their cattle unmercifully, sticking the brad into their hides until the poor animals were covered with hard lumps. Doc Appleby, the St. Croix lumberman who later moved to New England, wore a goatee, and his favorite by-word was, “Oh, b’God,” uttered as one word, with emphasis on the first syllable. His methods were direct and efficient. A man once came into his office and applied for a job as an ox-teamster. Doc said, “Oh,b-God, how do I know you can handle oxen? If I pay your fare up-river and you can’t drive oxen, I’ll be out. Here, I’ll be the ox. You show me how to drive.” He handed the man the goad-stick and bent over on the floor on his hands and knees. The man timidly waved the stick around and said, “Get up.” “Oh,b-God,” Doc said, “you’ll never do.” However, work was hard to get, and in a few days the man applied again. They went through the same performance, with Doc playing the ox again, but this time the man yelped, “Get up, damn fool!” and rammed the goad into Doc’s rear. Doc promptly jumped to his feet and said, “Oh, b-God, you’ll do! I’ll send you right up on the train tonight!” Great Northern Lumber’s methods are as direct and efficient as Doc Appleby’s but we certainly didn’t require a goad-stick to know the importance of balancing environmentalism with economic growth. By doing so, we are sending a clear message to our customers, suppliers, and community that we are the industry leader in sustainable development, and we are the first lumber remanufacturer to measure the carbon footprint to our entire supply-and-disposal chain, from logging operations to landfill. Our “greener” policy rolls up everything into one mega-policy, a kind of 21st century Manhattan Project, alternative energy and an efficiency surge to get the most out of every kilowatt we produce.
- Remanufacturing. The primary strategy at Great Northern Lumber is to purchase lesser grades of lumber that has been miss-manufactured and defect cut to produce valued Industrial and Commercial wood products. This is the most environmentally responsible method of lumber production to maximize the forest resource and achieve the “highest and best use” model. Great Northern Lumber has a full manufacturing plant, employing over 50 people, designed solely to remanufacture unwanted lumber and plywood into desired products for the Industrial, Commercial, Heavy-Construction and Governmental end-users.
- Reclaimed Lumber. Great Northern Lumber purchases used or salvage timber from a wide variety of resources that is sound and solid, and re-works the material to effectively produce needed wood products. In addition to old timbers, Great Northern Lumber will pick up and re-use pallets and waste wood from its customers. This stock is returned to our remanufacturing facility and re-worked or ground up into animal bedding. This is a classic example of the benefits derived when an environmental conscience allies with sound asset management and rescues non-merchantable materials otherwise destined for a landfill.
- Diesel Fuel Savings. Great Northern Lumber operates and maintains its own private fleet of delivery trucks. This not only enables us to control and assure prompt customer deliveries but also heightens the customer service experience.
- Used Motor Oil Recycling. Great Northern Lumber recycles motor oil drained from our private fleet of trucks and forklifts. For every two gallons of used oil, we can generate enough electricity to run the average household for 24 hours. We also reprocess used oil in our furnaces for heat and into lubricating oils for power plants to generate electricity. We do this to help prevent pollution and conserve energy for a clean and healthy environment today and for future generations.
- Wood waste to Animal Bedding and Biomass. Nothing is wasted or sent to landfills at Great Northern Lumber. We have several in-house grinders that accumulate all sawdust and wood waste, chipping it into valued animal bedding for local farms and horse stables. Recently, federal and local initiatives have created new demand for our wood chips to new Alternative Biomass Energy Plants being constructed regionally. This will assist in further reducing our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels while protecting air, soil, water, and wildlife resources and enhancing ecosystems.
- Steel and Plastic waste recycled. Great Northern Lumber recycles all scrap steel and plastic generated from equipment upgrades and routine maintenance. Additionally, all used steel and plastic strapping from rail car shipments and lumber re-packaging is shredded in-house and sent for recycling. We continuously evaluate new methods to reduce our packaging materials as well as identify opportunities to reuse and recycle these materials.
- Paper waste recycled. Paper recycling is the process of recovering waste paper and remaking it into new paper products. Post-consumer waste is paper discarded after consumer use, such as old corrugated containers, magazines, newspapers, office paper, telephone directories and residential mixed paper. The Energy Information Administration claims that recycling one ton of post-consumer paper waste saves about 4,000 kilo-watts of electricity. Great Northern Lumber diverts on average more than 1 million pounds annually of fiber and paper from U.S. landfills which is enough electricity to power 500 three-bedroom homes for an entire year. Jeffrey Currier, President and Chief Executive Officer says recycling reflects Great Northern Lumbers’ commitment to eco-friendly business practices, “We are committed to continually improve our ecological performance in accordance with our product lines and monitor how our related manufacturing operations evolve.”