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Reducing Our Impact

I started One Man Gathers Studio for a number of reasons. First, I realized I enjoyed making things. Second, using reclaimed wood has an authentic look and feel. And lastly, I am feel I am doing my small part of reducing the amount of wood that enters the waste stream.

It is estimated that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every single day. The EPA states that Americans generated about 254 million tons of garbage in 2013. Wood waste is estimated to be about 6-10% of all waste created annually.

Those are some staggering numbers. Enough to even get an optimistic person as myself down. Please do not despair. There are a lot of folks out doing some great things. I like to look at what The Minimalists, Trash is for Tossers, and Rob Greenfield are up to for inspiration and ideas.

So how does One Man Gathers Studio make a difference? I only use wood that has been used or discarded. This ranges from 150 year old barn wood to once used brand new shipping pallets. All cardboard for shipping and picture frame backing are repurposed boxes. Even the packing material is repurposed. All wood scraps are repurposed into new products until deemed unusable. Ultimately, any unusable wood pieces are used in a fire pit.

What impact can one person have? How much wood can I repurpose? For the month of January, I have pulled 580 pounds of wood out of the waste stream. This is wood that was heading to a dumpster if I didn’t grab it. From those reclaimed pieces, 96 pounds of reclaimed products were made for customers and stores. Let’s see how this number grows through the year.

Not everyone has to transform their two car garage in to a reclaimed wood warehouse to make a difference. There are many simple, daily actions you can take that reduce your waste. Click here for your one stop link for reducing your impact.

Steps that I have taken:

  1. No single use drink containers-bring refillable coffee and water bottles to work or errands. There is no excuse for single use!

  2. Find products made in glass or bulk. I buy a case of organic apple juice in four 1 gallon glass jugs for my family. These glass jugs have many opportunities for repurposing. More on that later.

  3. Really think about any new purchases. I ask myself-do I really need this? Is there a way I can find it used?

  4. Minimize what I own. I spend time going through my belongings and donate what I don’t need or no longer use. This has reduced clutter in my home and business and left me with higher quality items that I truly use.

  5. Compost. Food waste is a huge problem. It is estimated that nearly 40% of all food grown is discarded in the United States. Compost bins do not have to be an elaborate undertaking nor do they smell if done properly. Check out this link to set up you own composting system.

This is just a list of some things that I have been doing. What about you? Let me know what you are doing to reduce your waste or impact on the environment.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!

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