Zero waste?

Last year we had five large Douglas Fir trees taken down to provide the walls for the natural swimming pond.  Cutting the trunks to get the exact sized timber required meant quite a lot of potential waste, known to some as skantlings, the thin, part round bark covered outsides of the trees.

timber stack

The squared timber with the skantlings in the background

However this hasn’t gone to waste.  After cutting the pieces to my standard firewood storage size of four foot lengths, they were put into two stacks in the yard, covered in recycled corrugated tin sheeting and left alone.

Earlier this year, now that we have a log splitter capable of handling the 4ft lengths, the stacks were taken down and split to more manageable sizes, then re-stacked for the summer.

log splitter

Splitter ready for action

I’ve now just finished cutting those lengths into the 2 x18in and 1x 12in  pieces for the two woodburners and stacked them in the woodshed for easy access and further drying until we need them in the New Year.


an arty shot of firewood!

So that would seem to be that, but as with any processing there is further “waste” generated.  At the splitting stage quite a lot of the bark came away as it had dried at a different speed to the timber.  When cutting, even with the circular saw, there’s a lot of sawdust piling up under the bench.

Both of these by-products are used. The sawdust helps to keep the weeds down on the paths and the bark, after chipping, makes a great mulch or again a really durable path covering.

wood chipper

Chipper in action on an earlier job

There’s also a stack of squared timber continuing to dry (unfortunately it got wet at the end of the summer) that will soon be going for tanalising and then to replace the edging boards on the vegetable beds.

So, to my mind that’s Zero Waste.

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