SOLAR DASHBOARD

Total Macy’s, Inc. Solar Electricity Production on 11/19/2017

SOLAR PRODUCTION106.0MWh OF CLEAN ENERGY
52,065 YTD

EQUIVALENT TO 82.1 TONS OF CARBON OFFSET
40,350 YTD

EQUIVALENT TO $11,341 DOLLARS SAVED
$5,570,910 YTD

EQUIVALENT TO 178,062 MILES NOT DRIVEN
87,468,499 YTD

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1/10/2017

A Passion for Repurposing Paper – and More

POSTED UNDER By Our Associates

“I’m no artist – I’m a better mechanic,” says Brian Johnson. As a facilities engineer at Macy’s in Walla Walla, Washington, Johnson gets a chance to do both. On a daily basis, keeping the facility energy-efficient is at the forefront of his goals. And while he claims not to be an artist, Johnson is constantly finding creative ways to repurpose things. “I’m moving away from disposables,” he says. “We only have one planet and one environment. Instead of disposing of something, I like to find a new use for it and give it new life.”

He’s certainly found a creative way to repurpose paper. He converts it into logs for use in wood-burning stoves and fireplaces. We’re all familiar with the idea of using paper to help start a fire, but this is something different. Johnson actually creates logs with a burn time much closer to wood.

He got the idea when he spotted a log press in a catalog. It appealed to him, and he also saw it as a great way to keep paper out of the landfill, so he ordered the press. “I saw a lot of environmental benefits, actually,” he says. “It provides heat for the home, reduces the need for fossil fuels like heating oil, natural gas, and propane, and it reduces the need for trees to be harvested for burning wood.”

After the paper cures for six months, he shreds it and then saturates it with water. The wet paper adheres to itself, which makes it easy to form into logs like these. He then places the logs in the log press to increase density and lengthen burn time. “It takes a lot of strength to press the logs,” he says, but the end result is worth the effort.

Even the ash resulting from the burned paper logs gets put to good use – Johnson mixes it into the soil in his family’s large vegetable garden, which includes tomatoes, basil, peppers, and much more. “The garden typically has a pretty large yield,” says Johnson. “Food for our family, our friends, our neighbors – we create enough food to feed everybody.”

“I’m focused on being self-sustaining,” says Johnson. “I like to ask “What do I have and how can I use it?”

Do you have a creative repurpose solution? Share it with us!