TVCR & CRC Launch Firewood Rescue Program
With this snowy, cold winter hanging around longer than some had expected and household bills at historic highs, many people in the valley are struggling to make ends meet. At the same time, the building boom stayed strong and is ramping up for the summer months with a massive influx of construction waste headed to the Transfer Station. Wood waste is starting to become a waste problem for Teton County.
In a novel approach to solving these two problems, County Solid Waste Supervisor, Dann O’Donnell proposed collaborating with the Community Resource Center (CRC) of Teton Valley to provide free firewood to those in need from the Transfer Station firewood pile.
Since the last chipping of the giant, inaccessible wood waste pile, O’Donnell has hired a new county employee to sort wood waste into more accessible salvage piles including usable pallets, plywood sheets, furniture/cabinetry, and the inevitable short pieces of scrap lumber best suited for wood stoves or fireplaces. Contaminants such as plastic, treated lumber, drywall, or other mixed materials are removed leaving clean wood suitable for reuse. Currently this fuel wood is available at the Transfer Station every Friday from 8 am-2:30 pm during community salvaging hours with a $10 day permit ($18/month or $146/year). Salvagers can load up as much wood as they would like from the sorted wood piles. The limited salvage hours and out of town location are the main challenges for working people who could benefit from firewood assistance.
Enter the collaboration between the County and non-profits, the CRC and Teton Valley Community Recycling (TVCR) to salvage firewood and make it available for free at the CRC office (1420 N. Hwy 33, Suite 204 in the Teton Business & Education Center). CRC volunteers will load up on firewood using a county authorized fee waiver and bring it to a trailer donated by TVCR in the parking lot of the Teton Business & Education Center just north of Driggs, making the wood much more accessible to those in need.
To access this free program, like many other CRC support programs, community members just need to go to the CRC office during open hours (Mon-Fri 10am-4pm) and a staff member will unlock the trailer to access the firewood – no forms, no need to prove financial need, just show up and get some firewood for your household (as available, first come, first served). Due to concerns over liability and vandalism, the firewood trailer will be locked during weekends and overnight.
Teton County Commissioners and Solid Waste staff are thrilled to be able to offer this free service through non-profit partnerships. CRC already provides a very successful Food Rescue program called “Food for Good” which rescues food otherwise headed for the landfill from participating retailers to be distributed for free to all community members. Check out the CRC website (crctv.org) for distribution times, locations, and details.
To volunteer for either food rescue or firewood rescue, please contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org. Firewood Rescue volunteers will be needed on Fridays between 8am-2pm and ideally have a pickup truck or other vehicle suitable for wood transport. Food Rescue volunteers are needed throughout the week for this wonderful program.
Construction contractors who have short lengths of waste wood are encouraged to either offer these to the public or donate them directly to the CRC firewood rescue program rather than sending this wood to the Transfer Station.
We encourage all community members planning yard projects or home improvements this spring/summer to consider taking advantage of the Transfer Station Salvage Program by visiting the wood pile on any Friday. Entire chicken coops, tree houses, kids’s forts, pallet projects, compost bins, and more can be made for a mere $10 utilizing construction wood waste. You’ll appreciate the new system of organized and accessible wood items instead of a massive pile. We’re thrilled Teton County is targeting Reuse as a goal rather than shipping everything to the Circular Butte landfill. Bravo!