Waste not: WallGoldfinger Diverting Wood Products Waste to Other Companies, Non-Profits

WallGoldfinger1.John Crowne Green Mountain Drums
WallGoldfinger Shipping/Receiving and Maintenance Supervisor John Crowne puts straps around a pallet of plywood “waste” that will be picked up by Green Mountain Drums in Cambridge.
WallGoldfinger2.ReSOURCE products
Lamp shades, a table and chair set, and coasters are made decorative and beautiful thanks to veneer scraps from WallGoldfinger and the skill of ReSOURCE staff, volunteers and trainees creating these Waste-Not-Products for the non-profit’s Building Material Store on Pine Street in Burlington. (Provided/ReSOURCE)

WallGoldfinger, a maker of high-end corporate furniture in Randolph, Vt., is turning waste products into profits for other Vermont businesses and further reducing its impact on the environment.

Call it recycling, upcycling, reusing or waste diversion. Whatever the title, the concept is simple. Products like pieces of plywood, medium density fiberboard (MDF) and veneer too small to use on WallGoldfinger’s expansive boardroom tables and other products are being set aside for woodworking-related companies or organizations rather than ending up in a landfill.

The program officially got its start in the fall of 2013 when Shipping/Receiving and Maintenance Supervisor John Crowne took the initiative to set aside wood products’ waste for ReSOURCE, a Burlington, Vt.-based non-profit focused on providing environmental services, poverty relief, and education and job skills training.

Last year the program diverted 16,531 pounds of waste from the landfill to ReSOURCE.

WallGoldfinger3.Vermont Woodworking School projects
Students from the Vermont Woodworking School in Cambridge turn waste veneer from WallGoldfinger into beautiful, artistic pieces of furniture, including this clock for an artistic expression class by Tyler Gebhardt, a chest of drawers by Mike Bouffard, a table with drawers by Jacob Rieder, a wall cabinet with drawers by Jesse Haliniak, a wall-hung jewelry cabinet by Marcus Santa and a coffee table by Joel Byrne. (Provided/Amanda Lass, Vermont Woodworking School)

This year the program expanded to Atlantic Plywood Corp., a leading plywood and panel products supplier with a location in South Royalton, Vt..; and Green Mountain Drums, a maker of handcrafted wood hoop drums in Cambridge, Vt. The Vermont Woodworking School in Cambridge, Vt., has been a past beneficiary and is also part of the reinvigorated program.

“It’s Earth Day every day, that’s what I say,” notes Crowne, who enthusiastically pulls aside the materials on pallets for pick-up and keeps a large “thermometer” tracking his progress on the wall above his desk in the company’s shipping and receiving area.

ReSOURCE Development Director Curtis Ostler once worked at WallGoldfinger. He knew the type of waste woods generated by the factory, and what a good fit they would be for ReSOURCE. ReSOURCE operates a building materials store in Burlington. Raw materials from WallGoldfinger go to the store and are used by staff, volunteers and trainees to produce what the non-profit calls Waste-Not-Products sold in the store.

The program consequently has a three-fold benefit of reducing waste, helping provide materials for job skills training and supporting ReSOURCE through product sales, notes Ostler.

Green Mountain Drums will soon pick up its first pallet of plywood pieces.

“We’re very big on upcycling. This is a great fit,” says Green Mountain Drums owner Bill Allen who will use the plywood pieces to build prototype molds for a new, high-end marching drum he is creating under the name Sterling Drums.

The Vermont Woodworking School teaches furniture-making and hosts Burlington College’s craftsmanship and design degree and certificate programs. The school receives veneer and MDF from WallGoldfinger.

WallGoldfinger4.school bending jigs
Students from the Vermont Woodworking School in Cambridge work with instructor Terre Morrison, center right, to bend jigs with the help of waste MDF from WallGoldfinger. (Provided/Amanda Lass, Vermont Woodworking School)

“We turn (the veneer) into very high end fine furniture pieces. (WallGoldfinger’s) waste is big enough for us to do full furniture pieces,” says Brian Bright, the school’s lead faculty member, site director and also a former WallGoldfinger employee.

MDF pieces are used for bending forms and jigs.

The program, notes Bright, not only keeps waste like MDF out of landfills but reduces furniture-making costs for students, who would otherwise have to buy these materials.

Arthur Plant, a driver for Atlantic Plywood in Vermont, is picking up “bunkers” the company uses to ship plywood to WallGoldfinger. “Bunkers,” or skids, are pieces of wood that go under a bundle of plywood to allow a forklift access to lift the load.

Crowne sets aside the bunkers and Plant picks them up when he’s making a delivery.

“It’s been working good,” says Plant, who has initiated similar pick-ups at other companies to save Atlantic’s Vermont location from having to buy more. “It helps out both of us (Atlantic Plywood and WallGoldfinger) and the environment. It helps everybody.”

Central Vermont Solid Waste Management District General Manager Leesa Stewart praises WallGoldfinger’s program for not only diverting waste but providing training opportunities and resources, particularly for non-profits like ReSOURCE, where, she notes, trainees are no doubt gaining confidence in addition to job skills.

In addition to waste diversion, WallGoldfinger recycles the typical papers, plastic and more; is Forest Stewardship Council certified; uses high efficiency lighting; uses non-toxic materials, such as adhesives, as often as possible; has earned a Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention; and operates out of a factory heated with biomass woodchips. Scrap metal is also picked up by two young men who bring it to a dealer, further reducing WallGoldfinger’s waste.

“We are privileged to work in a beautiful, natural place,” says company Chief Executive Officer John Wall. “Programs like this one help keep our state beautiful for all to enjoy while also supporting educational opportunities for our future woodworkers and some remarkable niché businesses.”

Learn more about WallGoldfinger on the web at www.wallgoldfinger.com.

About WallGoldfinger
Founded in 1971, WallGoldfinger designs, engineers, manufactures and installs the world’s finest executive furniture, including custom boardroom and conference tables, lecterns and credenzas and meticulously-crafted Arbor and Summit product lines. Built for today’s business people, WallGoldfinger’s furniture solutions are innovatively designed to integrate the latest communication technology, built with responsibly-sourced materials and made in the United States in a state-of-the-art facility in Randolph, Vt. WallGoldfinger products are displayed in a New York City showroom and sold to top corporate, institutional and government decision makers in collaboration with leading architects. Nationally known for its work with Fortune 500 corporations, leading financial and insurance institutions, large law firms, universities and government agencies, WallGoldfinger clients include the White House, New York Stock Exchange, International Monetary Fund and the United Nations.

The company’s vision is to be a leader in offering innovative, functional and unique furniture solutions to corporate customers worldwide with the values of quality, customer service, ethics, integrity and sustainability at the forefront of all it does. Learn more online atwww.wallgoldfinger.com.

WallGoldfinger Inc.
44 Hull Street, PO Box 308
Randolph, Vermont 05060-0308
802.431.0113     F. 802.483.4201