Note from the President: How We Celebrate Earth Day Year ’Round

We strive for zero waste in our operations, and we take pride in our stewardship of forestlands. More than 3 million seedlings have been planted on 5,800 acres burned from the Labor Day fires in 2020, and more than half a million were interplanted following the 2021 drought and heat wave. In the last 24 months, following the catastrophic fires, we salvaged 130 million board feet of fire-killed timber. That is about 30,000 truckloads of logs.

Embracing technology and innovation to recover all the fiber trees have to offer has provided the means for us to compete at timber auctions. Developing laser scanning, heat conditioning veneer blocks prior to peeling, using a unique light candling moisture detection system, utilizing regenerative electrical drives, replacing hydraulics with electric actuators and placing robots in service are a few examples of the leading edge technology we use to provide competitively priced products; while still conserving power and resources.

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Aside from our main products, markets have developed for our residuals. Bark is used as fuel in our cogeneration plant, producing more renewable power than all six of the mills consume, and the bark fines go into nursery potting mixes. Our wood chips are shipped to paper mills and our chip fines have agricultural uses. Planer shavings are made into particleboard and used in animal bedding. Wood-fired boiler ash is sold as biochar.

Our wood-fired boiler produces enough steam to create the electricity needs for more than 5,000 households, to dry more than 10 million feet of veneer per month, and to send steam to two heat exchangers that provide a hot water deluge system to 22 veneer block conditioning vats!  These three valuable processes use the same steam.

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We like to say we get everything out of the tree including the squeak! Solvents are recycled along with oil, paper, cardboard, wood and water. Storm water is captured from our plant sites, preventing it from entering the waters of the state. Our trucking fleet is late model, fuel efficient and aerodynamic. Our smaller rolling stock has changed from diesel to cleaner burning propane.

Everyone who works with Freres companies have reason to be proud on Earth Day for providing planet-friendly, carbon-storing, shelter products. Our new Mass Ply products will soon be shipped to Oakland, California to build the tallest wood structure in the Western United States at 18 stories!

Congratulations for the collective effort to achieve this milestone event.


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