27 October 2016

Interview with Treeincarnation

The principle of zero waste living is much bigger than glass jars and bulk food shopping. Shifting the attitude and perspectives on how we can better manage our resources is the main principle sitting at the movements core. It's about rethinking, not filling up jars. 

Treeincarnation is a Melbourne based business challenging the wasteful mindset of the tree removal and furniture making industry. 

Melbourne is a wet and windy city. It’s not uncommon to see tree removal and branch pruning after a storm, namely for safety reasons. The trees and branches collected are turned into mulch and firewood.

While acres of forests are cut down to make cheap furniture, Treeincarnation founder Nick Peardon questioned why the wood from felled trees on our suburban streets was not being used to build furniture instead. Treeincarnation will remove trees, branches and old stumps and turn this wood into furniture. 

It's inspiring learning about businesses that are helping to challenge the status quo of waste in many different areas.

I interviewed Nick about his business and how he is hoping to change people’s perceptions in the tree felling and furniture industry.

Interview with Treeincarnation

Interview with Treeincarnation

What is TreeIncarnation? What inspired you to start the business?
Treeincarnation is Melbourne's only (and perhaps Australia's) tree removal company that makes furniture from the trees that are being cut down. The business was founded on the dissatisfaction with the way things have always been done - referring to the amount of waste that is rife across the board. Typically when it comes time for a tree to be removed, it is either cut up for firewood or disposed of as mulch. Treeincarnation is all about making as much furniture from trees already being cut down to decrease demand for deforestation and habitat destruction.

What have been the challenges in your business?
In the early stages of development, in mid 2015, we were up against various challenges that were preventing us from turning our dream into reality. This predominantly revolved around the fact that most of the trees we were removing were 'green' and thus took anywhere between 6 and 18 months to effectively dry out, and thus be in a state where they could be used as materials for making furniture.

This timeframe was hardly feasible to be worked in with the markets' demands. We set out to find ways in which we could reduce this turn around time. This brought us to the concept of incorporating the green timber into the design, which ultimately enabled us to reduce the turn around time down to a couple of days for handful of products.

Take us through the process of turning an unwanted a tree into one of your stools?
The first thing we need to be wary of when we're salvaging timber from trees is the fact that we need to make it feasible to dismantle the tree safely without breaking anything, get the job done in a timely manner so we can remain competitive, and be able to cut big enough sections out of the tree at time so they can be up cycled into furniture. There is no rule book for this as it's all uncharted territory, however we find the use of ropes, pulleys and lowering equipment to be the best method so far.

Once we have the pieces of timber safely yielded from the tree, it is time to measure them up and cut them to length. Once we have done that, the off-cuts are dealt with and the soon-to-be stools are ready to be transported back to our yard and then turned on our v. large lathe.

Interview with Treeincarnation
Treeincarnation is all about making as much furniture from trees already being cut down to decrease demand for deforestation and habitat destruction.

What are some of TreeIncarnation’s achievements so far?
I have to say as the Founder and Managing Director of the company, the most proud moment of mine would have to be seeing the dedication of our staff ever since we starting recruiting in alignment with our vision. I've had people call up wanting to volunteer, purely because they hold what we do in such high regard. My team truely understand and resonate with the fact that we are doing so much more than making furniture from trees, we are building the Great Wall of China when everyone else is just laying bricks, so to speak. The plan is to get as many other companies as possible to minimise waste as well rather than do things just 'because that's the way it's always been done'.

Tell us TreeIncarnation plans for the future?
I'm not sure whether this is just a distraction, somewhat aligned with what we're trying to achieve, or part of 'what I'm here to do' (in a spiritual sense), but there is serious talk of expanding into the treehouse business. There is so much on my plate atm that makes me nearly cringe at the thought of doing more things, however I can seriously see it come into reality in the not too distant future. We have already started our first one, and the plan is to put the word out as soon as Treeincarnation is relatively streamlined / running sufficiently without any dependance on any one key member of staff. The only problem with building treehouses is that it's hardly aligned with what we're aiming to achieve (minimising waste and inspiring the industry to do the same), however we are of the opinion that the world needs it, and that's good enough for me.

Where can people buy your furniture? Do you do custom made pieces?
If people don't have a tree they need to have removed and are looking to purchase an item from us, we will have an online store fully setup in the not too distant future where people will be able to navigate our products and checkout with a customised item, tailored to how they want it. However in the meantime, we do have a few partnerships with local retailers who stock our stools - visit Gaudion Furniture or Norsu Interiors for more.


www.treeincarnation.com.au
facebook.com/TreeIncarnation
instagram.com/treeincarnation_co
  1. How cool! Such a good idea, and those stools will look great for generations to come.

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    1. I could not agree with you more :)

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  2. This is so important. Thank you for sharing this.

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    1. Thanks Lucy, it's a great story proving that rethinking is a big part of reducing waste.

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  3. I hope this idea will spread and become the new way of living! Thanks for the reporting.

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    1. So do I, Craig. It's ideas like this that we should all support.

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