BOWERSTON, Ohio -- L.J. Smith Stair Systems employees have solid environmental practices in place, from recycling sawdust and cardboard, to having LED and motion sensor lighting installed at their facilities.

"We manufacture tens of thousands of wood balusters and newel posts each year," said Craig Kurtz, president of L.J. Smith Stair Systems. "That process results in lots of sawdust. Right now we recycle about 2.5 million pounds of sawdust each year. We've been dedicated to this recycling process for the past three decades."

Rather than throw the sawdust away, L.J. Smith sells the residue of red oak, poplar, white oak and maple sawdust to local vendors. The company's environmental program partners use the reclaimed sawdust in a variety of products, including compost, top soil and mulch.

The company also recycles scrap cardboard.

"We recycle about 48 tons of scrap cardboard each year at our Bowerston, Ohio facility," said Kurtz. "We avoid disposal costs by giving this material to local companies for their use. For us, it's all about acting responsibly as a corporation."

Additional environmental actions for the company include having replaced their previous light fixtures with LED lights. That change in the company's four manufacturing operations saves on energy costs, estimated at $40,000 each year in just the Bowerston location.

"Several of our facilities have motion sensitive lighting," says Kurtz. "If there's no motion in a specific area after several minutes, the lights automatically turn off, saving more energy.

"We're continually reviewing ways to reuse and recycle materials in our facilities. It doesn't matter if it's 15 minutes of energy saved with a motion sensor light or thousands of pounds of wooden pallets being recycled. We try to focus on our environmental practices every day, at every location."

L.J. Smith products include wooden and ornamental iron balusters, stainless steel cable and tube infills, newel posts, hand rails and accessories. The company now has four manufacturing and distribution locations in Bowerston, Ohio; Corona, California; Ball Ground, Georgia; and Puyallup, Washington; and several other distribution locations.

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