Materials from a ‘Boneyard’ Gain a New Life
June 2015—Like many lumberyards, Cape Cod Lumber has a “boneyard”—an area where misordered material is stored and sold at reduced prices. When the business was moving to a new location, VP and General Manager Tom McManus was challenged with dealing with the materials that had been accumulating over the years.
“When it’s a small covey of items we can manage it. But there was so much left behind that there was no way to sell it all,” Tom said. “Dumping it was not an option because it was good stuff, and the soft costs to sell it were too high. So the logical option was to donate it.”
Tom found out about the Reuse Center at Boston Building Resources by searching online. Then, in a subsequent conversation, he learned that millwork manager Jay MacDonald had heard of BBR before. The connection was made.
Jay and coworker Frank Atkinson worked with BBR’s donations manager, Paul Kiefer, to handle the logistical details of scheduling and staging. They pitched in to help BBR truck staff John Robles and Ace Johnson load everything up. Donated materials included doors, windows, pipe, molding, shutters, siding, ladders, tools, and hardware. In addition, some lumber racking was donated and will be used in the Reuse Center’s storage area, making it easier for BBR to handle bulky items.
Tom appreciates how good communication between his staff members and BBR made the donation process smooth. “Many times, someone might say, ‘I’ll be down on Tuesday,’ and on Tuesday, they don’t come, don’t call,” he said. “But with you, the communication was great. We understand that we’re working with an organization that gets it.”
The primary beneficiaries of the donation are the many low- and moderate-income homeowners who have received the Cape Cod Lumber materials for affordable prices. Rather than languishing in a boneyard, the items are being used to make repairs and improvements in neighborhoods throughout Greater Boston.