Environmental Responsibility - Boise Cascade

Environmental Responsibility

Boise Cascade relies on natural resources – air, water, energy, and trees – to make and distribute the wood products people use every day. It only makes sense that we operate in ways that sustain these natural resources and protect the environment today and for generations to come. We believe good business and good environmental practices go hand-in-hand.

Boise Cascade has a solid record of responsible environmental commitment and performance, including:

  • protecting air and water quality near our manufacturing sites
  • responsibly using energy and wood resources
  • reducing, reusing, and recycling manufacturing and finished product waste materials
  • collaborating with others by listening to and acting on constructive ideas to demonstrate our commitment

Our performance gives substance to our commitments.

Protecting air and water quality

Making the wood products our society needs and wants requires processes that affect air and water near our manufacturing sites. Boise Cascade’s dedicated employees have established a strong track record of protecting air quality near our production sites and rigorously cleaning the water (effluent) used in manufacturing whenever it is returned to nearby rivers. Our manufacturing operations consistently meet or exceed tough standards set by multiple and complex state and federal environmental regulations.

For example:

  • Our wood products manufacturing facilities have reduced smog-producing volatile organic compound emissions from green wood-drying operations by about 81% since 2000.

Responsibly using energy and wood resources

Our manufacturing operations require substantial energy and wood resources. In addition to helping protect the environment, wisely using these resources is in our company’s best economic interest. Efficiently and responsibly using energy and wood resources keeps our operating costs lower and ensures that we sustain the natural resources essential to our business. This underlying economic link makes our commitment to environmental health and sustainability a natural priority for us.

For example:

  • Boise Cascade operations have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by about 5% since 2000. We joined the Environmental Protection Agency’s voluntary Climate Leaders initiative in 2005; as a result we are committed to further greenhouse gas reductions.
  • Boise Cascade is committed to sustainable forestry practices. Although we don’t own timberlands, we carry independent third-party certifications as a procurer of wood fiber, as a producer of forest products, and as a purchaser of wood building materials. We don’t purchase wood from old-growth forests. Our wood procurement practices are audited and certified annually under the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, or SFI®; and the Programme for Endorsement of Forest Certification, or PEFC.
  • Our engineered wood products are made using about half the wood fiber contained in traditional dimension lumber, resulting in superior products that more efficiently use natural raw materials.
  • We track our wood fiber sources to ensure that the raw material and finished products we purchase meet our rigorous environmental standards.

Learn more on the Certifications page of this website.

Reducing, reusing, and recycling

Effectively reducing and reusing waste in manufacturing processes and recycling material reduces the need for “virgin” (i.e., never-before-used) raw materials, a goal that often makes both environmental and economic sense.

The challenge is to eliminate as much waste as possible while productively reusing the waste that cannot be eliminated, thereby reducing our costs and the amount of material sent to landfills. Processes can be changed to more efficiently use raw materials, thereby reducing the byproducts left over as waste. Products can be engineered to use manufacturing waste and waste from finished products – wood, paper, plastics, etc.

For example:

  • Boise Cascade’s wood products plants are designed to use almost all the wood purchased as raw material. Wood that is not manufactured into I-Joists or laminated beams typically ends up in plywood or chipped and shipped to paper mills as raw material for their products. Sawdust and plytrim is either used in particleboard or burned for fuel. Bark is either burned on-site in boilers or veneer drying system, sold for fuel at other mills or sold for landscape materials. Most of the ash generated from burning of wood fuels ends up as an agricultural soil amendment. Very little of the original raw material ends up in a landfill.
  • Boise Cascade works with our customers to reduce waste. Our I-Joists are sold through our own Building Materials Distribution business and through other dealers. Boise Cascade has installed SawTek™ cutting systems at 30 of these business locations. The SawTek™ cutting system works in conjunction with Boise Cascade’s framing design system and replaces the traditional chain saw cutting systems to optimize the use of the I-Joists. Such optimization can mean as little as ½ inch of waste in a 66-foot length. The SawTek™ cutting system typically reduces waste from 6 – 10% down to <1%.


At Boise Cascade, we reach out to stakeholder to get opinions and feedback on our environmental practices. We listen to and act upon constructive ideas to demonstrate our commitment and improve our environmental performance. We believe it’s important for us to listen to and collaborate with others.

For example:

  • Boise Cascade has joined the Climate Leader Partnership, a voluntary effort with the Environmental Protection Agency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by setting aggressive reduction goals and reporting our results.

For more information about Boise Cascade’s Environmental Responsibility, ask your Boise Cascade representative or contact us via email.