As a small family-run business, we don't have any certifications, but we still make every effort to practice sustainable habits because we believe in responsibly stewarding the earth’s resources. Most of our domestic hardwoods grow locally here in the Midwest where sustainable practices have allowed the lumber industry to thrive for centuries. For more exotic species of wood—such as Wenge, harvested in Africa—we abide by regularly updated sustainability practices overseen by both US and international governments.
In the Midwest, loggers harvest lumber with great specificity. Unlike practices such as clearcutting where all trees in a prescribed area are cleared, most local lumber companies require that the trees first be inspected by a forester who then marks only old growth trees for harvesting. This practice benefits the lumber industry, ensuring continued growth of trees for future decades, and benefits the forests by allowing space for young trees to grow. Forest growth in the US currently exceeds annual harvest by 33%.
While we would never carry any threatened or endangered species of woods, some varieties are still more sustainable than others. For example, due to rigorous forest protection practices in the US, domestic hardwoods are some of the most sustainable options.
Beyond normal forest conservation, some even consider harvesting certain varieties of wood beneficial to the surrounding environment. For example, Aromatic Red Cedar continues to thrive despite lumber trade, and in areas like Kansas and Oklahoma, many people even view this species as a pest since it chokes out the native grasses and plant life threatening natural prairie and scrubland.
We strive to be a zero-waste company. All our edgings, scrap ends, and even paper products from the office get collected and shredded together. The shredded pieces and sawdust from our dust collection system are then pressed into three-inch round briquettes that we use to heat the Ocooch Hardwoods facilities.
Our briquettes can be burned in any wood burning furnace or fireplace, and local customers often use excess briquettes to heat their homes as well. If you're local and looking for a sustainable, clean source of heat, contact us!