Recycling Wood Waste: Fuel for our Little Cod

** NOTICE **
At least one aspect of the following post differs from that which we implemented
in the end-design and/or the actual construction of our Tiny House.
For the most accurate and up-to-date information please refer to our eBook.



We try to implement as many RRR (Reduce, Recycle, Reuse) principles into our daily lives as we can.  Since we’re preparing for a winter in our tiny house, we’ve been thinking a lot about fuel for the stove and how we could recycle readily available (and free) wood scraps or trailings, instead of buying a half a cord of wood.  We had planned on taking our bikes and trailers out over the next few weeks to gather fallen wood near our forested bike paths, or just along the roads, but we serendipitously spotted a huge pile of maple and oak wood trimmings lying in our neighbor’s yard a couple of weeks ago, and thought, why not offer to take it away for them?

So, we did!  We separated the leaves from the branches, to be used for composting.  Branches were then trimmed down to 12 inches or less, the larger branches being split to allow for fast drying, and in order to fit in to our Little Cod stove.  We were amazed at the end results: 3 huge bags of leaves, and 9 blue bins full of wood!  We may have to get additional wood for this winter, as some of it may not dry out in time (although it’s so small it might dry out quickly), but after just a little work, we now have a great stash for the winter!


By the way, we weren’t actually “saving” the wood trimmings from some horrible fate, like the landfill.  Our neighbors were going to take the trimmings down to the McNeil Wood Waste Depot, right around the corner from us.  The McNeil Generating Station was borne in the late 70’s – early 80’s, when Vermonters were searching for a renewable, local source of electricity.  The Station burns wood, mostly from low-quality trees and harvest residues from private woodlands.  They also burn sawdust, chips and bark from local sawmills, and from clean construction/urban waste.  The Station must meet high operational standards and must follow procedures to “protect the health, safety and welfare of the general public and maintain the quality of the natural environment”, which means there is strict monitoring of harvesting operations (no clear cutting unless for specific agriculture or development purposes and, even then, it cannot exceed 25 acres) and strict air quality/emissions controls that exceed requirements.  The ash produced is recycled as soil conditioner for pH control and a source of potash and potassium, approved for organic crops, or is used as a base for road construction.  Anyone can drop off clean wood waste at the station for free.  Best of all, it produces electricity from a renewable resource!

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