Social and Environmental Responsibility
Here at Small Axe we want to leave lasting impressions on our customers but small footprints on our planet. We make it a priority to provide our customers with the best cutting boards and accessories on the market while ensuring the safety of you and your family, as well as the preservation of our planet and its natural resources.
Currently, we are partners with Eden Reforestation Projects, an amazing non-profit company with a beautiful mission -
"To recreate healthy forest systems that restore hope, alleviate suffering, empower people, and build local economies in impoverished communities" -Eden Reforestation Projects
For every item sold, Small Axe donates to Eden Reforestation Projects. We plant 10 trees per cutting board sold and 5 trees per each board scraper and board wax sold. Please know that we make every decision in our company inline with our values in our attempt to operate a responsible, conscious company at zero waste. We have helped plant thousands of trees since beginning our partnership!
As a conscious, responsible company, we are working toward operating at zero waste. We reuse, recycle and repurpose everything possible in our shop on our mission to become a zero waste company. Our journey begins with how and where we buy our materials, then how we process them, what we do with our byproducts, and ultimately how they get to you.
Where we buy our lumber
We buy all of our rough lumber exclusively from certified lumber yards. The three certifications we require are SFI, PEFC and FSC. At this time we currently buy the majority of our lumber from Singh Hardwood (Website still being developed) in Far Rockaway, New York. We make some purchases online also from Global Wood Source. We try to buy our lumber as close to home as possible to limit effects of using gas for shipping as well as packaging materials. Singh Hardwood is only 8 miles from our shop. Regardless of where we get our lumber, we only purchase certified wood. This makes it difficult for us to obtain certain species of exotic lumber, and will often run out of more exotic lumber; but we are firm in our beliefs to protect the environment.
Learn more about the our strict certification requirements -
Other materials used in making cutting boards
We use various tools to mill the wood, cut and rip it, clamp it, plane it, rout it and sand it. We use a chop saw, table saw, jointer, bar clamps, a thickness planer, a drum sander, a router and a random orbital hand sander.
All of these tools have lasted us years and will continue to last as we take great measures to keep them in good shape. We sharpen, reuse, repurpose or recycle all of our old router bits, saw blades and jointer knives. The sandpaper is what causes us the most issues with repurposing. We get maximum use out of our sandpaper by cleaning it and then using scraps on random projects. But we are also saving our used sand paper. We are looking to donate it to artists who can use them in collages or on canvas to add texture as a painting medium. We are also open to any other ideas you may have. Please reach out!
We use Titebond III wood glue to bond the wood together. We take great care to only use the necessary amount of glue so that we have minimum “squeeze out” when clamping boards together.
All of our cutting boards get finished with the finest, safest and most responsible products. Products that make sense.
We start by conditioning our cutting boards with our Special Blend Wood oil consisting of organic fractionated coconut oil (coconut MCT oil), organic lemon essential oil and organic Vitamin E oil. Although a good alternative is mineral oil, we stay away from using it because there is some inconsistent data as to whether or not it has negative health effects. We want to be sure we provide you with the safest and highest quality product for you and your family. We advise you to please not use household oils to condition your cutting boards. These oils, because they contain monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats can become rancid over time. Learn more here.
When finishing any table, certain countertops coasters and other wood furniture that we want to be waterproof or add extra protection, we exclusively use Rubio Monocoat. Rubio Monocoat Natural Oil Finish is the leading plant-based, environmentally responsible, sustainable, nonpolluting, single-coat, durable wood finish. Rubio Monocoat contains 0% VOC and has no effect on indoor air quality. If you don’t know about this product, you better step up your game!
How we conserve finishing materials
We usually apply 2-3 primary coats of our Special Blend Wood oil. When finishing multiple boards, we apply the coats by "bathing" the cutting boards in the oil, basically just dunking them into a tub of oil. We keep the baths clean and reusable. We chose this method for application because it limits waste. When we pull the boards out of the bath, we set them above the tub of oil on a rack so that the excess oil can drip back into the bath and be reused. If we are only working with one board we will use a small dish towel that we wash and reuse.
Finally, we add a good thick coat of our organic Small Axe Board Wax. Our board wax is made with organic fractionated coconut oil, locally sourced organic beeswax and FDA approved, organic lemon essential oil. All of the ingredients are sustainable and display the "fair trade" label where applicable. When applying this wax, we use an organic, hemp dishtowel whenever possible (check out rawganique.com to find out more) to scoop out a bit of wax and rub all over the board. There may be a small amount of wax left on the towel after use which we cannot avoid but we wash the and reuse the dishtowels as needed.
To pack our products we use boxes, twine, paper, stickers, labels, padded mailers and tuck boxes.
Shipping boxes - We use 100% recycled, 95% post consumer waste shipping boxes. These are biodegradable and recyclable. Check them out here.
Tuck boxes - We use 100% recycled, 97% post consumer waste tuck boxes to ship board wax. These are biodegradable and recyclable. Check them out here.
Twine - We use vegan waxed organic European hemp twine with potato wax. Sweatshop free. Check it out here.
Paper tags - We use plantable, non-GMO verified seeded paper to print our "Thank You" cards. Plantable paper is a biodegradable eco-paper that is made with post-consumer materials (no trees harmed for this paper!) and embedded with seeds. When the paper is planted in a pot of soil, the seeds grow and the paper composts away. All that is left behind is flowers. Check out more here.
Stickers and labels - the stickers for our board wax and the labels for shipping are both made on all natural and unbleached sugar cane paper. Compostable adhesive, vegan and tree free. Check out more here.
Padded mailers - We use 100% recycled padded mailers that are biodegradable and recyclable. Check them here.
Poly Mailers - We use 100% recycled poly mailers that are recyclable. Check them out here.
We inevitably have to order supplies to be shipped to our shop from time to time. This leaves us with cardboard boxes and some other packaging supplies that we recycle or reuse. We will sometimes ship using these boxes and use pieces of used boxes as a filler or to protect cutting boards and other items during shipping.