ABC's of Recycling,
W is for Wood
Nov 29 2023
ABC’s of Smart Recycling
Are you remodeling or building a deck? Do you wander the lumber yard checking for the plumb boards? When it’s time to clean out the garage or workshop, what can you do with all the “good wood” that’s leftover?
There’s more than one way manage waste wood. And recycling is only one part of it.
Start with Re-use
Finding another home for your extra scrap wood is a great idea. Clean, dry wood can be donated to many different organizations. Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore accepts construction materials including lumber. But large organizations like girl scout or boy scout troops, as well as local after-school programs, park district camps and Forest Preserve kids’ courses often need scrap lumber for hands-on projects. Makerspaces are another great place to look for donation opportunities. (Learn more about Makerspaces here.) Don’t forget your local school teachers (especially STEM teachers) who might need a few boards to build demonstration exhibits or classroom bookshelves.
Recycle With Care
Great news: some kinds of wood can be recycled right into your backyard compost pile! If it’s a clean solid wood, (not plywood) and not treated, painted or stained, you’re in luck! That stuff can go right in your compost.
If it’s pressure-treated, painted or stained the bad news is–it’s full of harmful chemicals that should NOT go into compost. (According to the EPA, common wood preservatives include chromium, copper and arsenic.) Even low-VOC paints can contain unsafe chemicals. (Did you know Prussian blue paint contains cyanid?) Unfortunately, the same is true of plywood or particle board. (EPA also has warnings on particle board and plywood created with formaldehyde.) The glues used to make these products are dangerous and should be disposed of carefully, to prevent contamination of our soil and water. These materials should be bagged and placed in normal trash.
Go Pro If You Have Loads
If you have a larger amount of construction materials to dispose of, you are in luck. DuPage County has a construction and demolition recycler nearby. Contact LRS recycles to learn more about how you can use their service to reduce the environmental impact of your construction work.
Clean out your workshop and keep our planet green by following these simple re-use and recycle guidelines from ABC’s of Smart Recycling!