Tag Archive for recycling

Reclaimed wood

This is a guest post by Viridian Reclaimed Wood, a reclaimed wood company that is locally owned and operated in Portland, Oregon. Viridian is committed to finding the best use for every stick of wood that is reclaimed to reduce demand for new lumber.

Home building projects are too often extremely wasteful. But it can be hard to find the information and the right services to help lighten the environmental load of renovation.

There are a number of great websites where you can start researching waste reduction strategies, environmental building materials (e.g. BEC Green in Canada) and recycling options. But an excellent overall resolution is to make use of reclaimed materials wherever possible.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that about 1 million cubic feet of building materials are removed from demolition sites each year. Much of this can be reclaimed instead of ending up as landfill, which is something that organizations such as the National Community Wood Recycling project in the UK and the Green Building Council in the US are trying to promote.

Reclaimed hardwood flooring and reclaimed wood paneling are growing in popularity because they’re just as attractive as their virgin counterparts. They are also good for the environment and economical.

Because reclaimed lumber often comes from old-growth trees, it can be up to 40 times harder than virgin wood (on the Janka hardness scale) which is great for durability. Age and weathering also give salvaged wood a unique look that you’ll never find in virgin woods without a laborious (and probably chemical-intensive) staining process.

Panels or veneers made of reclaimed wood are strong and resist warping better than those made of solid wood, making them an ideal choice for bathrooms and kitchens. Many types of salvaged lumber are also weather-resistant, and therefore great for decking and outdoor needs.

One of the advantages of reclaimed wood is that it can be locally-sourced, so reducing the energy expended in shipping this heavy material. It takes less energy to manufacture an item from reclaimed lumber than virgin wood and the manufacturing process doesn’t require petroleum-based synthetic materials to look beautiful.

Reclaimed wood can be salvaged from many places: old buildings, shipyards, wine casks, water tanks, shipping and crating materials, barns and school gyms. The lumber is kiln-dried and milled, ready for reuse. And the wood’s back-story as an old ship, barn, school or wine cask makes for interesting conversations.

There is a wide variety of woods available in reclaimed form and you can even use exotic woods without guilt, assuming these are genuinely salvaged.

Unless you source the wood yourself, it is best to purchase from dealers that are certified by reputable, eco-friendly organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance or Forest Stewardship Council. This gives you peace of mind that the lumber is truly reclaimed.

And if it is, it can give your project coveted LEED points that count for green building certification, something which is increasingly being encouraged, and even incentivized, by far-sighted municipalities in the US and elsewhere.

And don’t forget the other side of the equation: if you are demolishing a building think about selling your old wood to companies that deal in reclaimed wood.

krazy for my kigos

I have a new favourite pair of shoes.

They are vegan. They are recyclable. They are comfortable. And, before you get too worried, they are snappy looking.

They are made by a US company called kigo (NB. this is a fashionably lowercase company).

The company’s commitment to ecological accountability runs deep. Shoe uppers are made from a stretchy fabric derived from post consumer plastic jugs. Adhesives are water-based, dyes are non-toxic. Packaging is at a bare minimum (they come wrapped in a thin piece of paper) and unwanted shoes can be mailed in to or dropped off at Souls4Soles depots (in the US) for on-distribution to those in need.

Two of the shoe lines (drive and flit) can also be sent back to be ground up at the end of their useful life. Sadly my edge shoes are not eligible for this program, as they are made of different materials, but maybe that will come.

If you return the shoes for reuse or recycling, you are eligible for a voucher for 25% off your next purchase. A significant incentive.

For more technical details on the shoes, I do recommend that you go direct to their website. It is very informative.

I chose the edge shoe which is a basic slip on. It is tight fitting, yet comfortable and flatters my very large feet (I would have no qualms about wearing these shoes with shorts, for example).

Overall, I really like the way my shoes both look and feel. In fact they exceeded my expectations on both these dimensions. They have little cushioning, but this does not seem to matter. I look forward to taking them on my next trip. They would be super-easy to pack and great for walking around town, light hiking, maybe even the odd game of tennis.

kigo shoes are, at heart, barefoot running shoes. I do intend to try a short run in them as I am curious about the whole barefoot trend. For now, though, I am nursing a sore achilles tendon and don’t want to take chances (I am running a 10km race next weekend). If barefoot running interests you, though, there are numerous on-line reviews of these shoes from the barefoot brigade: you can get to them through the review page of the kigo site.

Now I have persuaded you that you want a pair of kigos what else do you need to know?

They come in four styles, two of which are unisex and two more for us ladies. The drive line has a bungee closure (because these remind me of climbing shoes I reflexively feel they would be uncomfortable, unfounded prejudice, of course). flit (remember, no caps) and curve have a mary-jane type strap cross the top (for the girls). All models come in various colour-ways. Grey dominates but orange and green accents make me very happy (I have grey with green stitching, which provides interest without drawing attention to my feet).

The three final things you should know about kigo shoes are that:

  • They run small (oddly, sizing varies with the style). I am happily sporting a woman’s 12 in the edge style, which is perfect. But I never normally go above a 10 (a pretty consistent euro size 41). They make no bones about this on the site but I still made a mistake first time round.
  • Sales are on-line or through a small group of retailers both domestically and internationally. On line, there are two parallel universes: the regular sales area and the outlet sales area. Prices are about 30% lower through the outlet. So my edge shoes cost $50 through the outlet and $69 through the main site. I suspect people were finding the prices just a little too high….
  • They ship to Canada ($10 a pair), and you know how happy that makes me.


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