Construction Waste

A new building goes up.
A new building goes up.

What do you think happens to wood and other materials left over from construction? The builders are framing a new building and cutting off short pieces of wood. What do they do with it?

Well, in my neighbourhood, it gets burned in my wood-burning insert.

It's like a Christmas Present on the side of the road!
It’s like a Christmas Present on the side of the road!

As you know, I am refusing to fill our oil tank in our basement which means no furnace which means an electric space heater, portable electric AC unit with a heater, and. most importantly, a fireplace and a state-of-the-art insert.

Status report: still no oil in the tank despite volatile oil prices resulting in a price drop. Fossil fuels are stuff of the past, no matter how cheap they are.

I’m glad I already had a fire going this evening because as I write this, the power is out. Leanne has fallen asleep with the kids upstairs which is a shame because all this candlelight is very romantic.

One of several answers to my appeal to the Hammond Neighbours facebook group for wood to get us through the winter was an unexpected one from Gord of Silver Valley Homes who is building the new treatment centre in Hammond.

On November 29th he sent me a private message in which he said,

We will start framing later this week, we will have short pieces of 2×4,2×6 etc that we will be hauling out. Not sure if you would be interested . Stop by on site and see me or give me a call

No no, thank you!

Sure enough, when I was able to arrange some time when Leanne wasn’t using the Prius and I wasn’t busy with kids, work, etc. I found a neat pile of wood under a tarp waiting for me. It got a little damp, but it was dry to the core and burns great.

Now, Leanne works for the Recycling Society, so I’m pretty sure that wood and other reuseable/recyclable material is banned from the landfill. But does this apply to construction sites? I asked Gord what would have happened to this wood if I wasn’t burning it. He said,

Hi James,
My company is called Silver Valley Homes Ltd. It is standard practice in Maple Ridge for wood waste to get loaded into bins and disposed of, which is what would have occurred in this case. I am happy that you could use the wood for heat. I think the landfill bans will become stricter over time which will lead to more recycling/ re-using etc.
We will continue to put wood out in the same spot for you.
Thanks, Gord

And I am on my way to pick up another trunkful or three right now. Hopefully it hasn’t been thoroughly soaked by this last week of extreme rainstorms. Yay climate change!

The kids helped me stack it.
The kids helped me stack it.

Published by

James Rowley

James lives in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada with his amazing partner, Leanne Koehn, and their two amazing kids in their beautiful house. He studied Science and English Literature at the University of British Columbia where he met Leanne. He also studied acting for a while at Studio 58 in Vancouver. He works as a teacher of English and curriculum writer for new Canadians.

5 thoughts on “Construction Waste”

  1. I have a friend who works as a carpenter in the film industry. They build sets, and then they tear them down and send them to the landfill. Again and again and again. It’s absolutely shameful. (Not the actions of the builders or the film folks – the shame is that we generally value this material so little that we throw it away rather than reusing / recycling it.)

  2. Hey James,

    So glad that he followed through with his offer. Sounds like a solid guy! Do you think he will be as generous when he has finished with the insulation? We need the equivalent of about a batt. Otherwise, do you know anyone renovation in the neighbourhood right now that might have some left over?

      1. James! Of COURSE they did – it is Hammond after all! lol I didn’t realize that Greg had put the word out in Hammond Neighbours when I sent my post to you. Reading Jennifer’s post too – too bad they don’t put that in the ‘sale’ at the end of shoots. I have walked away with literally BAGS of clothing for a song. If the word went out, I bet the lumber from the sets would go too! OR they could donate to our wonderful Community Theatres in the Lower Mainland!

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