Week Four – WoF & MDF

An aspect of the challenge we are still not completely sorted on is the waste produced from activities in the garage and workshop. One of our guiding principles in trying to be rubbish free is finding alternative uses for things that are no longer fulfilling their original purpose. For example, we’re using the old wool carpet we pulled up in our hallway and bedroom as weed mat on the garden and our clever friend has converted an old popcorn maker that he wasn’t using into a coffee bean roaster! It was with this spirit in mind that I retrieved a piece of MDF (medium density fibrewood) wood that’s been lying around for a few years in order to use it as a base for a concrete hearth I’ve made. Fortunately, after cutting it down to the required size, I’ve been left with off-cuts large enough to be used in other projects, however, it has made me think about what I would’ve done with any small scrap bits of MDF wood, had they been created during the process, being unsuitable for burning or composting. We’ve been gradually moving away from using MDF after learning that many of the varieties use formaldehyde in the resin that holds the fibres together and that this can cause health problems particularly if dust is inhaled during cutting and sanding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-density_fibreboard). Apparently the environmental impact of MDF is improving with the use of other materials but I doubt ours is made of bamboo, recycled paper or forest thinnings.

In keeping with the workshop / garage theme, this week our car required a WoF – it failed. There were issues with the horn and driver’s seat which I was able to fix without any waste created, a wheel bearing which our mechanic has fixed, and a new fuel cap was required to replace the after market plastic universal cap that was on it. Generally, I have made my own car repairs where possible and this recent experience has highlighted for me the waste that can be created in this process. For example, I will find an alternate use for the now redundant plastic cap, however, if I had needed to replace the brake pads what would have I done with the old ones? Many more questions than answers in this weeks blog!

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