When the flooring of the gym at the Northglenn Recreation Center in Colorado was damaged beyond repair, it's likely many wrote it off, assuming it would end up in a dump. But a furniture company in nearby Fort Collins saw value where others saw none, and salvaged the old maple, transforming it into tables, desks and chairs that will have a fresh lifetime of use.
Wool Hat, run by Matthew and Danelle Britt, is dedicated to using at least 80% recycled materials in its furniture, and the rec center was the perfect opportunity to obtain a large supply of wood (presumably at a low cost) and save all the trees that would have been cut down to replace it. So the Britts teamed up with Ponder Company, Inc., a sports flooring provider, to keep the old flooring out of the waste stream.
For Matthew Britt, “saving the material before it becomes trashed is vital. This flooring will now be used as a student’s desk, an artist’s work table, or a families gathering point... not a pile of waste.” And more than that, the furniture Wool Hat sells will have a story behind it, even if its countless games of dodgeball. The Britts have also salvaged materials from another recreation center as well as an old barn.
Making new furniture is one of the best ways to reuse wood, and it seems to be becoming increasingly common. Now it's a matter of encouraging businesses like Wool Hat around the country to step up and keep used wood out of the garbage, and in our lives.