Sunday, December 6, 2009

What To Do If Woodchipping Leaves Town

If you are living somewhere where the main form of income for the town is woodchipping and pulp, it can be devastating to the community if the company closes. Here is an idea for a back up plan for those effected by the changes in supply and demand, fashion and business viability.
Hand crafted furniture, household goods, art and craft are always popular. Good quality items make the same primary product - wood - vastly more valuable at the point of purchase. Handcrafted work by respected craftspeople increase with value as it antiquifies (gets old). Learning skills in wood turning, carpentry, cabinet making, wood carving, etc. to make artifacts that are both practical (useful) and aesthetic (looks good) are a way to stay in the wood game (I'm presuming you live where wood is), raise the value of your product, and use less of your resources more effectively. You could diversify from small, relatively cheap objects like cheese boards or picture frames, to big stuff like wardrobes or bars. It also uses less energy and is far more satisfying as a worker then feeding the wilderness (and your lives) into a machine.
If paper pulping was the industry, recycling paper is very fashionable and moves with the current methodology and attitudes. Recycling office paper and newspapers to make new office paper is both economical for the producer and savvy for the environment. Creating other recycled paper products like toilet paper has a very loyal customer base. Also, hand-made paper recycling for cottage industries is a loved product by people who love all things crafty and rustic. Cards, art supplies, and unique writing paper and envelopes are products that people will pay far more for then mass produced "Hallmark" styled items. And they are more enjoyable to produce for the worker, as it is more creative and has very little guilt involved, feeling more like being part of something to be proud of telling your youth about.

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