Hydro power helps make "green" knives for New West Knifeworks

New West Knifeworks recent manufacturing move from Japan to the USA is not just good business, it's good for the planet. By using local resources and manufacturing, New West has drastically reduced its carbon footprint by 90%. Best of all, the knives are cut and finished in a factory powered by its own onsite hydro-electric power plant.

Chopper Peacock

Wilson, Wyoming, February 1st, 2011. Climate change is serious business. But adapting to the needs of the planet and committing to sustainable practices can also be good for business. At least that's how New West Knifework's founder, Corey Milligan, sees it.

"When I was in my early 20's I moved out west from a small town in Ohio," Milligan said recently. "The beauty of the mountains changed my life. My love for the outdoors has made me a greenie. I try to conserve resources, and in terms of the food that I eat, I'm all about slow food. Locally grown, clean, small scale. I like to know where the food comes from, and I don't want it covered in Aviation Fuel."

Milligan has tried to apply his principles to his business practices. "When I decided I was going to make New West Knifeworks a sustainable business, I started to realize it didn't have to be a sacrifice. I started to see the ways our new knives were going to be better for the planet, better for the customers, and also, better for business."

In an effort to reduce New West's carbon footprint, Milligan recently moved manufacturing from Japan to Shelburne Falls, Massachussetts. Prior to the move, the handle materials were produced in Vermont, shipped to Japan, and the finished product shipped to Wyoming. Now, the "Fusionwood" is sustainably harvested and crafted in Vermont, then shipped 103 miles to Shelburne Falls. The move has reduced New West's carbon footprint by 90%. "There are hidden costs to bad business," Milligan says, "The cost of all those fossil fuels carrying knives back and forth to Japan doesn't just come out of my wallet, it comes out of my kid's future. No thanks."

Transportation isn't the only way New West has eliminated its carbon footprint. The knives are now made in a factory powered by its own onsite hydro-electric power plant.

Finally, by investing in better quality steels, New West is able to make a knife that will last a lifetime. "Because of the relative weakness of the dollar to the Yen, we can actually invest in a higher quality, American steel. Our knives are better than ever." Milligan explains, "people need to realize that when they go to Wal-Mart and buy cheap, knock off knives, they may be saving a buck now, but those knives aren't going to last. The worst thing for our planet is low quality disposable products- not to mention you're stuck using a lousy, dull knife. A knife made using dirty coal, starvation labor, and no quality standards. We all need to start to realize the hidden costs of what we consume."