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VIC FIRTH AND THE ENVIRONMENT

Vic Firth has been concerned about the environment long before it was fashionable to do so! Environmental responsibility is a core value and our commitment to sustainability is ongoing. This page is constantly evolving to reflect our latest efforts and undertakings. We recommend you bookmark this page and come back often. For more information, please contact us at info@vicfirth.com

IT STARTS AT THE SOURCE

Vic Firth has fostered professional relationships with some of the brightest minds in the field of wood science. A few of the organizations we work with on a regular basis include The Wood Products Manufacturers Association, Maine Wood Products Association, and the University of Maine Wood Science Department. These relationships help us to ensure that we are employing the most efficient and sustainable methods in the industry — from the forest, all the way to the music store.

WATER RECYCLING

During the centerless grinding process that shapes the profile of each stick, water is used to keep the wood from burning. The resulting water and sawdust is filtered through a de-watering press which allows us to continuously reclaim 96% of the water we use in the grinding process! The remaining 4%, containing particles too fine to filter on-site – is processed by the city.

CARBON-NEUTRAL HEATING

Trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This carbon dioxide is released back into the air though the process of combustion. Under sustainable forestry practices, burning wood rather than oil or gas is considered to be a carbon-neutral process. For this reason, we turn to our own waste wood to heat our factory and fuel our kilns.

Sawdust reclaimed from our centerless grinding process is sent to be converted into wood pellets. Scrap parts and dry sawdust are collected and sent to our wood-fired boiler. The boiler generates the steam that heats our buildings in the winter and drives our kiln drying operation year-round.

A recently-installed state of the art dust collection system virtually eliminates sawdust from getting into the air, increasing our supply of wood-based fuel and decreasing our dependence on fossil fuels. This system also filters warm air coming out of the mill and returns it to the building. This natural system has significantly decreased the amount of fuel required for heat.

OTHER FACTORY EFFICIENCIES

  • By owning our own trucks, we are able to maximize all trailer loads to and from our suppliers, factory, and offices in Boston.
  • With the help of a grant from the state of Maine, we re-wired our kiln motor controls and installed energy-efficient motors. Smarter venting has cut down on dry cycle times and decreased electrical consumption.
  • All of our trash is destined for some type of recycling program. Cardboard, paper and metal are sorted. The rest goes into a zero-sort, single stream recycling program.
  • 3,200 plastic totes are now used to store drumsticks during processing, replacing the cardboard boxes used previously. The switch from boxes to totes removes and estimated 8,000 boxes a year from the waste stream.
  • Solid-state, energy efficient lighting has been installed in our inspection stations. Additionally, we evaluating re-lamping the entire mill!
  • We have recently replaced our older air compressors with new, variable speed compressors that match the energy consumption of the compressor to the actual load requirement, resulting in significant electrical savings.
  • One of our manufacturing steps produces very fine sawdust that is dangerous to feed into our boiler. In the past, we had been sending this material to landfill disposal. Now we use a briquetting machine that forms this sawdust into dense blocks.

WHAT GOES ON THE STICK

Significant research and investments have been made to ensure that the clear finish applied to our sticks is free of any materials listed by the EPA as hazardous air pollutants. Working with our coating suppliers, we are researching water-based materials to reduce or eliminate the use of solvent-based coatings altogether.

PACKAGING AND PRINTED GOODS

In 1992, Vic Firth was the first drum stick manufacturer to package paired sticks in the “matchbox” sleeves which are now the industry standard — eliminating millions of plastic bags from landfills every year. Today, the sleeves we use are also printed using electricity sourced from wind power at an FSC certified supplier. The ink is vegetable-based and the sleeves are 100% recyclable.

We also use an FSC certified printer for our bi-annual catalog. The catalog is printed using 10% post-consumer waste recycled paper. It is also available online for download and paperless viewing.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

In 2008, Vic Firth received the Maine Wood Product Association’s “Pine Tree” Award. This award recognizes Vic Firth Company’s commitment to expanding the labor force, exploring innovative improvements in manufacturing and being environmentally responsible.

In 2014, Vic Firth hosted the “Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence” ceremony at our factory in Maine. The Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Office of the Governor were in attendance to celebrate and recognize businesses from around the state for “outstanding environmental leadership and innovation.”