This post is sponsored by Georgia-Pacific; however, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
What do you really know about small town life in Alabama? Perhaps a smorgasbord of “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle” chants, charming southern hospitality, big hair, and delectable fried chicken come to mind. You would not be wrong. But there is one more thing you might unintentionally overlook—undeniably strong work ethic. Some of the most hard-working, family-oriented people reside in these rural areas of Alabama. But you may be wondering, how do they really earn their livelihood? If your misconception is everyone is either a farmer or simply unemployed, allow me to set the record straight. Companies like Georgia–Pacific (GP) thrive due to the hard work and dedication of small-town Americans. If you have ever used Angel Soft® bath tissue or Sparkle® paper towels, then you can thank your friends in small town Alabama for your freshly cleaned homes and bodies.
I recently had the distinct privilege of visiting the Naheola Georgia-Pacific mill in Pennington, Alabama. Upon arriving I was greeted with warm smiles and hearty handshakes from each employee I encountered. Their love for one another and pride in their home-away-from-home mill was undoubtedly evident. The more I learned about the Naheola GP mill, the more my appreciation and admiration grew for these dedicated GP employees. What I was impressed with more than anything else (and let me tell you, there was so much to be impressed with) was the family-type atmosphere which radiated from every corner of this facility.
Three and four generations of families have earned their livelihoods in this very mill. Employees are not solely workers, but family—some by blood, others by choice. The bonds are undoubtedly strong. You might not see the importance of this type of working atmosphere, but make no qualms about it, the care they invest in each other is mirrored in the care in which they devote to their machinery and products. Family bonds create strong work bonds.
Allow me to take a moment to dispel a few environmental myths some of us may believe about mills such as this one:
- The mill is not emitting harmful gases into the atmosphere. That “smoke” we see rising from the tops of this GP mill is simply steam (yes, water). That’s it! As a mother, I was very much put at ease with this newfound information.
- GP is not harming the environment by tearing down all our trees for their paper products. With every tree that is harvested from locally private-owned tree farms, more will be planted.
- Landfills are not increasing with the waste coming from the mill. In fact, they have reduced the landfill exponentially, a whopping 90% decrease, in the past ten years. The targeted goal for the Naheola GP mill is a zero landfill.
- The mill is not polluting its surrounding water sources. They put more clean water back into the river than they use and are actively attempting to reduce water usage. They even participated in the first annual Tombigbee River Clean Up just recently and plan to continue these efforts of improving the health of the river.
Overall, my visit to the Naheola GP mill assured me that continuing to purchase Angel Soft® bath tissue and Sparkle® paper towels is the right decision for me. Not only are they less expensive than other brands and well-made, but each purchase enables thousands of hard-working, southern men and women in rural Alabama to survive and thrive. Thank you, GP for allowing me to partner with you in spreading the word about the good you are doing for your community, the environment, and the people of Alabama.