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Landfill Wood Waste Made New Again

Posted Monday, December 22, 2014

At first glance, the products in Mark and Josh Kemper’s Artisan Millworks and Gallery in Vernon appear to be made from exotic wood imported from places most people can only dream of visiting. The truth is, in fact, quite the opposite. The material used to make the ornate benches; bowls, wine racks, candle holders and other items on display came from the log and stump pile at the Greater Vernon Recycling and Disposal Facility (GVRDF).

Logs and stumps brought to the GVRDF are chipped and used for a variety of onsite purposes. “Handling larger logs and stumps can be a challenge as they are heavy and bulky and need to be split before they can be chipped. It’s great that these large pieces of wood are being used to create these attractive pieces” says Dale Danallanko, Regional District of North Okanagan (RDNO) Recycling and Disposal Facilities Operations Manager.

On a trip to the GVRDF earlier this year, Mark Kemper noticed one particular old stump and thought that it could be turned into a piece of art instead of a pile of chips. His interest in turning discarded logs and stumps into works of art grew as he discovered numerous unique pieces of wood in the pile waiting to be saved from the chipper. He has created a niche product and a use for material that would have otherwise been chipped. The RDNO was pleased to allow Mr. Kemper to salvage the material on a trial basis as it reduced the volume of material which needed to be processed.

Kemper & Sons Artisan Millworks specialize in custom wood work including the new addition of functional wooden art. “It brings such pleasure to be able to take a piece of discarded Okanagan wood that is doomed for the chipper and turn it into a piece of art, a lasting legacy,” explains Kemper. “We select unique pieces that reflect the beauty of Mother Nature, with all of the pieces in the Gallery being one of a kind from tables, benches, wine glasses, wine racks, bowls, and cutting boards to larger sculptural works.” Every day, a new piece of art is created in the studio. Visit them at 4701 29th Street or check out www.kemperandsons.ca.

In 2009, the Province instituted the Wood First Act which requires the use of wood products in provincially funded building projects, provides a basis for best practices of wood use in buildings, and reports on the use of wood materials in buildings. Vernon Monashee MLA Eric Foster adds,”I am pleased to see the continued waste reduction efforts at North Okanagan waste facilities and the use of waste wood products for high value commodities.”

The RDNO is always willing to work with individuals and business owners in the North Okanagan to reduce waste wherever possible. By diverting materials from disposal, a landfill remains viable for many years and allows space for materials that have no other divertible option. For further information about waste reduction initiatives, please contact the RDNO at 250-550-3700 or by email at [email protected].