From my condo I observe a major townhouse development. Every few weeks, during the framing stage, a large bin of lumber cuttings, mostly shorter than four feet, is hauled away. I measured the bin; it’s eight-feet wide, seven-feet high, and 20-feet long. That’s 1,120 cubic feet or 104 cubic metres.
As I observed this waste of wood, I recalled my earlier experience as an advisor to a local prison. I recalled that although most prisoners spent hours training dogs, taking courses, and doing prison chores, most also had too much spare time. Suddenly I had a thought! Why not combine these two realities.
Why not have the prisoners receive the waste lumber, cut the wood into kindling and fireplace lengths (under supervision of course), and then sell the packaged product, wholesale and retail?
The prisoners might even be given part of the revenue to buy workout equipment.
Such an arrangement would have several positive consequences.
First, the builders would not have to haul their waste-wood long distances to disposal areas.
Second, they would not pay substantial dumping fees.
Third, good wood would not be wasted.
Fourth, and most importantly, the disposal sites would not be rapidly filled with huge mounds of perfectly good wood.
Fifth, the prisoners would take pride in such work.
Sixth, the prisoners would learn something useful in their work and in managing their little enterprise.
Seventh, customers who need kindling and other wood for fireplaces, campsites, and space heaters would have a large regional source – at very reasonable prices.
Eighth, everyone would feel good about such a sensible project.
And lastly, such an innovation might soon be copied across the region – and perhaps even the nation.
One thing more. A brand name is needed. How about Slammer Wood, Cellwood, or Lockup Lumber!
The supply of such excellent wood is almost endless. Let’s stop wasting and burying it!
John H. Redekop, Langley