What’s with the Wood?

Did you notice a big dumpster filled with wood in front of the Y Wednesday morning? Well, green fans, no worries- this dumpster wasn’t headed for a landfill, but to a recycler. This is the second summer in a row we have recycled wood from the theater using Filco Carting– a company referred to us by the folks at Broadway Goes Green.

Where does all this wood come from?  Last year, we had 12 productions in the theater.  Each production builds a set, and sometimes extra seating, for our flexible black box theater. At the end of the production, they break down the set, leaving large piles of wood.

 Two summers ago we discovered that the old policy was to require theater companies to take any wood from their shows directly to the dump.  This cost  theater company time, manpower, and a fee for disposal, not to mention the impact on the environment.  Recycling is expensive, and the companies just were not able to do it with their limited budgets.

We brainstormed and made some calls, and last summer during the renovation of our theater floor we built a reuse and recycle center in our theater loft.  We recycled all the wood from the old stage (five tons!) and started fresh last fall, and began a policy that theater companies could leave their wood, set pieces, and furniture from the productions in our theater for the next companies to use. For the entire 2010-2012 season, no wood was thrown out from our theater.  We collected it, and the wood has been used by our preschool for art projects, to build shelving in our art room, and for art installations in our lobby. Three productions were able to build their sets almost entirely with our wood, and almost every production used our wood pile in some capacity.  We now have a full stock of theater platforms built from this wood, which are incredibly useful, and have saved theater productions thousands of dollars in building or renting similar structures. 

As we prepare for the next season, we simply had too much wood to continue storing, so we did another clean out and recycle. We don’t know exactly how much wood we saved from the landfills this year, but we are guessing it is about 2 to 3 tons. This means in the past two years, we have  we have saved at least seven tons of wood from reaching landfills.  Instead, Filco will recycle the wood, much of which becomes mulch for city parks.

-Becky Skoff

Manager, LABA and The Theater

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