One of the quickest and easiest (albeit extremely time consuming) ways to immediately take steps towards making the project carbon neutral is by using as many recycled materials as possible for the conversion. This can mean using old tin behind the stove, disassembling somebody’s old backyard deck to build our rooftop patio, driving to pick up junk tiles for the shower and stove pedestal, and most of all, recycling old pallets for furniture and framing!
Deforestation remains one of the biggest threats to the environment. Forests cover around 30% of the land on our planet, providing oxygen, habitat, food, medicine, and much much more. Deforestation decimates between 46-58 thousand square miles of forest each year, and contributes to an estimated 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. Using pallets as much as possible helps us to diminish our negative impact on the forest almost completely, and as a feature of the bus helps us to raise awareness about the devastation of the earth’s forests.
It's exciting that by using wood from pallets we can reduce our environmental impact and get free wood, but that doesn't mean it’s easy. The process of converting pallets into furniture and other structures can be extremely arduous. First, we have to source the pallets. This usually means talking to bigger stores and gaining permission to take their pallets away, but it also means constantly scouting the driveways of businesses. Taking the pallets apart can also be a bit of a task. Wrestling with the sawsall, going through blade after blade, running out of battery… These are all things that come into play. Then comes prepping the wood. Start with a big pile of splintery pallet pieces with rusty nails sticking out of them and sand them down so that they are suitable to insert into a living room. And after all that the long 2x4 which was the primary reason for taking apart that particular pallet turns out to be warped beyond usability.
All that being said, upon completion, using recycled materials is beyond satisfying and has a rustic aesthetic that we like. And did I mention free? By our estimates we will end up saving _ dollars and _ trees, just by spending a little bit of extra time and effort on using building materials which would otherwise go to waste. Whatever your reasons might be, we absolutely recommend trying to use recycled materials for whatever build you might have going on!