Sunday, November 14, 2010

All that waste makes me ill.

The wood pile to the right grows ever larger. The left over concrete in forms to the left.
I am really feeling ill about all the waste we are creating.  Despite my best efforts, it seems there is a monstrous pile of debris gathering on site.  I am somewhat overwhelmed.  I tried sorting the wood into like-length piles, and some were used.  But there is a huge pile of OSB and plywood in irregular shapes that no one has touched.  The pile keeps getting bigger. And the concrete that was extra from our pour just tears me up inside.  Even if we made a few pavers, there was not enough time or energy left to make more forms before the concrete set. God, how are we EVER going to get better at minimum waste? And to think we SHOULD be making carbon neutral/lifecycle zero-waste buildings already!

Any ideas on how to use the OSB and other treated or glue-laden wood?  The regular, untreated wood offcuts are something we can at least burn in the wood stove. Please help with ideas.

Also, if anyone can use OSB offcuts, let me know.  I'd love for them to find a good use/home.


  1. I agree with Tai. But - then there is the storage issue so where are they kept until the next street furniture build?

    Check with Habitat for Humanity?

    That's about all I can think of. That is my biggest problem with OSB or related products. I hate supporting the use of them because I can attest to the fact that they never seem to go away (take a long long time to degrade) whereas wood literally goes back to the earth. Its pretty cool how quickly wood is absorbed back into the earth. Experienced that first hand in Coalspur. But OSB ... man, nothing happens to it. I wish I could think of something for you.

    Bird houses? Perhaps John Janzen Nature Centre could think of some uses?

    Hopefully some of the ideas I have mentioned have some merit.

  2. Can you give it back to the mill, so that they can chip it up and use it as an alternative energy source? Check with the mill in Hinton (?) or Edson (?). They might have some ideas. . . .

  3. Shafraaz, because of the glues and toxins used in OSB I don't think they can, but I can check with Doug's son if you like.

  4. Sort of an off-shoot of the street furniture idea:
    moveable garden screens. Use the longer straight pieces to create a frame upon which the irregular pieces could then be mounted artistically (no need for exact edge to edge matches) and painted. put the frames on caster wheels and you then have frames that you can move about the garden for privacy, shade, create open "garden rooms".
    Optimally the screens would fit together so that they could pushed out of the way in a compact package when not in use.

    Just brainstorming.

  5. I have had good luck using scrap plywood for insulated box beam headers. The scraps also made great gussets to strengthen trusses and other structural connections (glue and screw). In certain applications they can replace high embodied energy steel ties. Both plywood and OSB can be used for furring strips.

  6. Great suggestions, Rob!

    I have been thinking of using OSB to sheath the back of closets and other out of sight areas- but then reconsidered, as they are not fire resistant like drywall.

  7. Shafraaz, I can't find any good pictures on the web, but there was a really nice project featured in the Wood Design & Building - Fall 2008 magazine for The University of Michigan's Urban Planning student lounge that uses offcuts to create a number of features from furniture to wall finishes. If you don't have the issue, I'll lend you ours. This seems like a good application idea..

  8. Shafraaz, You mentioned using the offcuts in the back of closets, but were concerned about fire protection. You could install the offcuts behind the drywall to support closet rods, shelves, mirrors, toilet roll holders, etc.

  9. Unfortunately, even by using scraps for blocking/backing in the stud walls, there will still be wood left over. I think I will "compose" the wood offcuts into an artistic wood feature wall, as per Tyler's suggestion above!

  10. Well, I'm going to use some of the untreated and non-glue pieces in our snake's home ;-) I think he may like some more levels and "caves."

    It'll match nicely with the 'house' my Dad made for him: off cuts nailed together systematically with a haphazard look!

  11. this came up today - seemed appropriate: