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Fresh cut pine. The whir of the saw blade. Step outside at a lumber yard for these and other scents and sounds.

When I was a kid in the 1980s my grandpa took me to the lumber yard where he had worked. Grandpa Ed retired from San Bruno Lumber in a suburb south of San Francisco. He showed me the large circular saw for custom cuts. We looked at boards and met people grandpa had worked with. Grandpa was a carpenter by trade and finished his career by sharing his knowledge at the lumber yard.

I was told he was welcome to have any scrap wood from the pile. Some went to the fireplace, other pieces formed the basis for his model ships. Over 30 years ago, I did not think about how this was the “reuse” side of the recycling triangle. Grandpa helped me make my own sailboat from a few extra pieces. We used a plane to get the shape of the hull just right.

Though I managed to make a passable model, woodworking never became my forte. As an adult I have had occasion to visit Bloedorn Lumber Company in Alliance. This lumber yard also has a bin of free scrap wood and gives away pallets. For the past five years of its 78-year history Bloedorn has been recycling cardboard through Keep Alliance Beautiful.

Manager Troy Stoike said he thought it was stupid to throw out things that can be reused and repurposed. He talked about how he and his family have been recycling for years. “I think it’s important to conserve our resources,” he said.

Recycling is important at Bloedorn though Stoike said he doesn’t know if it benefits their business. “It doesn’t have a monetary benefit at all,” he said though it keeps things out of the landfill.

Lumber itself is a sustainable resource Bloedorn’s suppliers obtain throughout the country.

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