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Homesteader finds building materials at the landfill.

Many people are into recycling these days, and we are too. We sort our trash and take glass, flattened cans and recyclable plastic to recycling centers. Our old newspapers we burn to start fires in the woodstove.

But we also recycle things ourselves, converting other's trash for use on our homestead. The two major sources for our recycling have been a local tire store and our county landfill.

From our local Lew Schwab Tire Store we have gotten several pickup loads of discarded tires which we have put to various uses. Some I use for rings i around young trees and shrubs to hold mulch and water. My wife uses some as mini-hothouses in her garden, planting tomatoes, squash, etc., inside the tires. We also use them to hold down tarps and roofing on animal sheds. When laid flat and painted white they make attractive planters -- especially large truck and tractor tires.

But our main supplier of recyclables is our county landfill. From it we get wire fencing, wooden pallets, lumber, plywood, metal roofing, wire patio chairs, and this year all our firewood! It never ceases to amaze us what people throw away!

We are fortunate that our landfill keeps separate piles for wire and fencing, metal and wood and that we are allowed to take all the wood we want free, and the rest for a small "salvage fee."

All of the fencing and pallets we've used for our goat enclosure came from the landfill. We built a hay-shed that holds four tons of hay mostly from lumber and plywood from the landfill. Currently I am building a turkey pen using round wood poles and wire fencing from the landfill. We also keep a pretty good stockpile of building materials -- lumber, plywood, etc. on hand that we have hauled back from the landfill.

This heating season, which in our high desert climate (we live at 3,500 elevation) runs from September through June, we burned almost nothing but scrap wood from the landfill. Of course we had an unusually mild winter with no below zero weather and very little snow, but even in a normal winter we would probably only need to burn our jumper cordwood during the coldest nights of the year. During the days, my wife, who stays home to tend the homestead, could keep stoking the stove with scrap wood.

Again, we are fortunate that Prineville is a mill town, with two regular sawmills, two moulding plants, and several cut-stock plants, because they dump a lot of scrapwood at the landfill. All I do is load it in my old Datsun pickup, haul it home, cut it to length with my circular saw, put it in cardboard boxes and stack it in the carport out of the weather, then bring it in as needed. Two loads a month is plenty to keep the stack up, and my only cost is for gas and the electricity for the saw. Since we heat entirely with our woodstove, that makes for a very low fuel bill!

I realize that not everyone fives where there are sawmills to generate scrapwood, and many landfills do not allow salvaging of anything, or charge for it, but if people look around in their area they should be able to find some sources of free or very inexpensive recyclables" in this throw-away society we live in!
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Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Gertner, Dean
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jul 1, 1993
Words:562
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