Kerf and Sustainability

Kerf and Sustainability

As Earth Day approaches, we like to take a step back every year and look at how we can do our part to help our planet.  We’re lucky enough to be able to operate a very sustainable business, and doing so helps us cut costs, helps our community and planet be more healthy, and makes it easier for us to take pride in our work.  Through using natural materials, reclaimed sources, and waste reduction, Kerf is able to operate efficiently and consciously.  Read on to find out how.

Natural Materials 

Figured Ambrosia Maple Wood Case for Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Kerf Case
No piece of plastic will ever be as sustainable, or as beautiful, as this gorgeous Ambrosia Maple.

Wood is the primary material and building block across our product lines.  When farmed responsibly, lumber is a renewable resource that is strong, flexible, and beautiful.  We are one of a small group of companies that make wood phone cases without using an imported frame of injection-molded plastic.  These frames are extremely cheap, but use countless fossil fuels in their production.

Reclaimed Sources 

Kerf Reclaimed Sustainable Wood
Once you start looking, you find usable materials everywhere.  We found this little guy abandoned in our parking lot 2 years ago!

Most of our cases are made from 100% reclaimed sources.  We’re always on the lookout for beautiful wood that we can save from mulching or rot, and have a wide local network of people on the lookout for us.

In early 2018, we were referred to a farm in Westmoreland County, PA that had cleared a cluster of walnut trees off its land in the 80s.  The wood had been sawed and left to air dry for over 30 years! The owners never got around to doing anything with it and wanted to get rid of it, so we took it all.  It’s been some of the most gorgeous walnut wood we’ve ever worked with, and we now have a 100% reclaimed supply that will last us for years.

Reclaimed sustainable wood westmoreland county latrobe farm
The Westmoreland County farm where our walnut trees stood.

We have a strong partnership with UrbanTree, a Pittsburgh company that goes onsite and into the field to secure sick, unwanted, and felled trees for fine woodworking.  Their presence in our area makes it easy for us to source responsibly, without sacrificing quality one iota. We note which of our offerings are reclaimed, but you can always ask!

Reducing Waste

What we leave is just as important as what we take.  We’ve spent the past year finding ways to reduce landfill-bound waste from our business.

KerfCase Veneer Work In Progress
Some of our extra wood gets turned into specialty parts by our laser.

By making our products to order, we’ve virtually eliminated a standing inventory, which reduces the cubic feet of space needed for us to operate.

Our repair program takes advantage of the unique repairability of wood.  We always do our best to save cracked and damaged cases, and by doing so we reduce the number of our products that get thrown away.

Phone Handmade Surgery
Sometimes we need to do some "surgery" to adjust a case.  A little hand work can save an otherwise unusable product!

We do not throw away scrap wood.  Over the years we’ve managed to turn our offcuts into very successful products, from our card wallets to the Alloy Case.  When we start to overflow, we donate to local carvers or I take some scraps home as fuel for my meat smoker!

Our cardboard is 100% post-consumer, and we save all of our inbound boxes and packing materials for future use.

Cardboard KerfCase Packaging
We make our own packaging from 100% post-consumer cardboard.

Many of our sustainability initiatives have come from customer feedback, so if you’re curious about our processes or have an idea on how we can be a more responsible company, please reach out!  We’re always on the lookout for ways to be a more environmentally conscious company, and we thank all of our customers for allowing us to be both successful and sustainable.

Phil Giammattei likes to wear lots of different hats.  Formerly employed at Apple, Google and Oracle, he loves applying his technical knowledge to making the best possible custom wooden phone cases.  In addition to writing the Kerf Blog, Phil’s duties at KerfCase include customer service, sales, production, shipping and fulfillment, and anywhere else he can be helpful.   Reach Out  to say hi and find out what choice cuts we have in stock!