Nova Scotian community works together to divert wood waste from landfill

Waste Reduction
A group of people standing behind a wooden table

The Municipality of the County of Inverness oversees their own waste management services, which includes managing curbside recycling and education on waste diversion. Last year, the municipal team set a goal to find new ways to reuse old wood so that less of it ended up in the landfill. Partnering with a local organization, the team diverted over 40 wood pallets from landfill and created a beautiful and functional wooden table. Our WNN reporter caught up with Shannon MacLean, Reuse and Diversion Lead for the Municipality of the County of Inverness to get the story.

WNN Reporter: Tell us about who you worked with on this project.

“We worked with L’Arche Cape Breton, specifically their Angels’ Loft workshop where adults with developmental disabilities work on creative projects so that their skills and abilities shine through. We asked people from the Angels’ Loft to come to Kenloch Waste Management Facility and think about how we could reuse more wood.

It was great working with the gifted and creative folks at Angels’ Loft. This project demonstrated a way to save materials that would otherwise be wasted all while doing something good in our local community at the same time.”

WNN Reporter: Where did the idea of creating a table from waste wood come from?

“We knew that we wanted to save old wood from being wasted so we spent time finding out what other people had already done with reused wood to get some ideas. We thought a table would be perfect because it would be useful and beautiful. A boardroom table would be used by lots of people, giving the wood a new life.

Silas Donham from the Angel's Loft found a YouTube channel where an Australian man created things out of waste wood. Silas got in touch and the YouTuber agreed to help us plan the project.

We quickly realized that this project had tasks for people with different levels of skills, which meant that lots of people could work together on the project, so it was inclusive.”

WNN Reporter: What were some of the challenges of the project?

“This was the first time that Angel's Loft had made something out of used wood, so there was quite a lot to learn. We needed more than 40 pallets which we pulled out of the waste stream. We also used wood from a house that had been demolished.

The team at Angels’ Loft had to learn how to break down the pallets and get them ready to be used again. It took time to work new skills like pulling out nails, sanding the wood, and fitting all the pieces together.”

WNN Reporter: How did the municipality benefit from this project?

“This project allowed us to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill. The project also highlighted the need to do more to stop wasting things that can still be used.

Additionally, this project meant that we could work and learn together with our local community. It was a great example of how to include lots of people and let them be a part of creating something useful and beautiful. Evan was one of the team members from Angel's Loft who participated in the project and he said that the wood saved his life because it made his work feel enjoyable and useful.”

WNN Reporter: What is your next project?

“The municipality wants to open a 'ReUse Centre' where residents can find items that had previously been destined for the landfill and give them a second chance at life.Lots of talented and creative people live here in Inverness County. We can work together and make diverting waste from landfill more meaningful.”


You can watch a video to find out about the Angels’ Loft and about this creative table project.