INTERVIEW: Inhabitat Chats with Recycled Wood Designers Scrapile
JILL: So then are you getting smaller and smaller scraps?
CARLOS: Yeah, that’s why we got the lamps, crates, and lights. Its all the smaller stuff we can make from smaller 2nd round scraps. We try to recycle everything back into the system. Its not quite 100% yet, but we’re pretty good on it. We don’t throw out much.
BART: It’ll be 100% when we can figure out what to do with the sawdust.
JILL: Could you press that into some type of board?
CARLOS: We’ve thought about ways of trying to do that. But of course that is an energy-intensive manufacturing process.
BART: It would be awesome if we could create a little machine that shops could buy; it could go with their dust collector, it could take all of their sawdust and turn it into some type of flakeboard that they could use as a building material.
JILL: That’s a great idea. You should get started working on that?
BART: Ha ha. yeah.
JILL: Did you guys start off with a mission of sustainable design, or has it just grown out of the project?
CARLOS: I think with this project in particular, our biggest concern was what’s going into landfill, in terms of these boards: formaldehydes, glues, toxins. Not to mention the waste of wood. I mean obviously we can’t absorb the entire Tri-State area and keep the landfills free of that stuff, but at least we can make other people conscious of the problem, with our project, and show that these woods can be recycled. There are a lot of great hardwoods that are being thrown out, and they can be reused, and we’ve proved it. I think people working in woodshops often get this mindset that certain smaller dimensions of wood just can’t be used, but its not true.
JILL: Were you always interested in environmentalism?
CARLOS: With my own stuff I’ve been involved in environmental concerns for a while now. I was really involved with solar power for a while, and that sort of led me into green building. But I can’t say I was always green. I mean at the time, even when I was interested in building green, a lot of materials just weren’t available, and when they were they were just so expensive it wasn’t feasible.
BART: Philosophically, environmentalism is definitely the most important thing in this for me. When I started learning about furniture design and all the materials that go into it, I just started getting really turned off by the industry standard, what was available, and particularly what was available in New York.
Carlos actually brought some “green” sample materials by the shop one day, and we immediately started researching the field. I sort of plugged him into the furniture that I was making, and we just started making a push to replace the environmentally damaging materials that were being used.
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