It’s Manufacturing Month, and we’re celebrating all who make our essential items


Georgia Pacific
Inside Georgia-Pacific’s plant in Monroe County, Alabama. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

October is National Manufacturing Month, and we all know Birmingham has deep ties to industry. We caught up with one of the world’s leading makers of some of our most essential items. Check out how Georgia-Pacific is supporting our households and our workforce through manufacturing.

Manufacturing Essential Products

Where it all begins. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

When I read that Georgia-Pacific’s consumer products are found in 65% of American households, I did a double-take. But those numbers make sense when you scan through some of their brands:

  • Angel Soft
  • Aria
  • Brawny
  • Dixie
  • Quilted Northern
  • Sparkle
  • Vanity Fair

Recognize any of those names? They’re all made by Georgia-Pacific (GP), who will celebrate its 100th anniversary in just a few years. Through the decades, GP has shown support to local businesses, created essential household products and played a big part in strengthening America’s workforce.

One of their most important products, however, may not be one you buy during your average shopping trip: lumber.

How It’s Made

If you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re currently in a building made with lumber. If not, you likely were at some point today. This is one product that’s incredibly pervasive in our lives.

You may not think a whole lot about lumber or where it comes from, but trust me, it matters. As someone who strives to be environmentally-conscious, I found it super interesting to see the process of how lumber is created.

One facet that stood out to me was the lack of waste from GP. Reducing waste is a goal I can get behind, whether it’s by repurposing tree bark or by investing in a good refillable water bottle.

Strengthening Our Workforce

GP plant
Spot the Bham Now man. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

Last year, a couple of our team members got an inside look at one of the plants where the magic happens. Check out this video to tag along with them.

Products like paper goods and building materials make our economy (and the world) go ’round. I challenge you to think of one industry that doesn’t benefit from paper, lumber, or any of the other products Georgia-Pacific makes.

Manufacturing is essential to our society, and few companies lead in this field the way GP does. This year especially, items like toilet paper and lumber have been in increasingly high demand. It’s more vital than ever to have skilled and committed manufacturers working to create our essential items.

GP operates more than 150 facilities, most of which are located in the US. They directly employ more than 30,000 people and have created over 89,000 jobs indirectly.

Creating products we use every day? Check. Creating tens of thousands of jobs in the US? Also check.

Why Manufacturing Matters

This year has brought a new perspective on essential items. Photo via Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

As a general consumer, I never thought I’d hear the words “supply chain management” as many times as I have this year. In a world of instant gratification, being unable to find essential products like toilet paper and paper towels was quite the shock for many.

Manufacturing, supply chain and delivery all affect how quickly a product can show up on the shelves of your local markets. In the year of the pivot, manufacturers had to adjust drastically and quickly. That’s why we’re celebrating companies like Georgia-Pacific a little extra this year.

Happy Manufacturing Month, Bham! If you enjoy paper products, be sure to thank a manufacturer this month.

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Beth Cunningham
Beth Cunningham

A Birmingham transplant who can usually be found hitting a new hiking trail or restaurant opening when she's not writing stories and snapping photos for Bham Now.

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