Sustainability and Environmental Responsibility
With a zero waste goal and special attention given to minimizing our impact, we reuse, repurpose and recycle every chance we get.
Reuse and recycling are hallmarks of the railroad culture.
LEED-certification, like so many other quality control standards can trace its roots back to the railway. Since the beginning of railroading, steel components have been removed and reused. Rails moves from main lines to sidings as it becomes worn, and once it is no longer viable, will be recycled.
Our steel comes from scrap railroad materials. This consists of metal collected during the course of our railroad contracting business as track renovations are undertaken. Because of the distress, age and amount of wear, once removed, it no longer qualifies as relay. By upcycling the scrap material to furniture instead of recycling, we save the steel from being reprocessed and thereby minimize the material’s carbon footprint.
Much of our steel has already lived a service life in excess of 100 years under heavy industrial use and exposed to the natural elements. Our process brings that material under roof, and combined with our dedication to providing heirloom quality products, preserves it for a continued life well in excess of its previous century of use – effectively removing it from reprocessing.
Our timbers are a cresosote-free waste product from the railroad crosstie manufacturing process. Called culls in the industry, these timbers are those that do not make grade in the railway tie manufacturing process are set aside and left untreated. Culled ties are commonly burned for disposal. By removing the ties from the waste stream, we create a more sustainable product and reduce the carbon footprint of the wood to eliminate the greenhouse gases that would be released during incineration.
It is of note that these timbers remain untouched by creosote. Made entirely of regionally sourced domestic hardwood, the timbers come from the areas in and around Tennessee and Kentucky. The process during manufacturing requires that the timbers be air-dried as opposed to kiln dried. Literally cut and stacked for drying, no energy is consumed in removing the moisture from the wood.
Low-VOC stains and finishes help further minimize our environmental impact. In shipping, we utilize reusable crating or recyclable materials whenever possible in an effort to minimize our waste stream.
Manufactured in Nashville, Tennessee. our operations are within 300 miles of over 40 million people, and within 600 miles of over 50% of the U.S. population. The city is conveniently located at the convergence of three major interstates, and the centralized location further reduces our environmental impact by minimizing our average shipping distance throughout the U.S.
Drops from the steel and timber are used in smaller products and in our art-oriented pieces. Unusable steel cuts are recycled. Unusable woodcuts are used by local cooks in smoking meats (primarily hickory) or by homeowners in firing wood stoves used for heating or enjoyed in their fire pits in cooler months.
The net result is a waste stream so small that we do not maintain a commercial dumpster on site at the studio for disposal.
Some might say we go a bit too far, but those are simply the folks who can’t take the heat of an un-airconditioned workshop based in the southeastern U.S. on a 95-degree day.