If you were at Lyndale Open Streets this year, you may remember the piles of wood set up at 38th and Lyndale. That was the work of Jeremy Marshik and his company, Reincarnation Corporation. Marshik stood on Lyndale, accepting offers for wood that he saved from dumpsters.
I purchased a piece of wood made from a tree that, according to Marshik, likely started growing in the 1700s. He guesses it floated down the Mississippi River to a saw mill and was turned into lumber in the early 1900s. Then, it was part of a home for 120 years. Now, it’s a shelf where I display my 90s nostalgia. He found the wood in a dumpster across from Ella Barton Elementary School.
Through Reincarnation Corporation, Marshik makes custom pieces out of the wood he salvages from dumpsters. Giant Jenga sets, tables, bike racks are just a few products featured on his website. After his Open Streets appearance, he started hauling and reselling more lumber destined for the trash. He realized he could save more wood and make more money by focusing on hauling and reselling the lumber.
“I call it trash cash,” Marshik said, about the income he earns. He is almost at a “full-time income” from the work he does hauling away wood from work sites, taking nails out and cleaning up the wood a bit, and selling it to people for their own projects.
He still takes custom orders, though. “I’m going to do a dog house I am excited about,” Marshik said as we sat in his garage, which was, yes, filled with piles of wood.
Through LumberStash, Marshik hauls away wood from work sites and dumpsters, pulls nails and resells the lumber. Marshik hauls away cedar fences and decks, hardwood flooring, old wooden doors, and lumber (e.g. two-by-fours, plywood).
“All of this would be in the landfill if I didn’t save it,” Marshik said, as he showed me projects made from his reclaimed wood. A dismantled cedar fence turned into a wooden wall around a hot tub. Tables made from wooden flooring in a dumpster. New fences made from old fence wood. He can save 60 two-by-fours from just one dismantled garage.
And another thing–the wood stays local. Instead of purchasing a product from a big box store, which is most likely shipped in from overseas, Marshik and his clients build similar products with wood that only moved throughout the city. That’s a pretty obvious environmental win.
The price is also right. Marshik sells lumber online for about half the cost it would be if bought new. Old wood can be much higher quality than the wood sold at places like Home Depot. Old growth wood, much of what he finds and hauls back to his Kingfield garage, is dense, stable, and rot resistant.
He is also teaching other people to salvage and sell wood as a side gig, instead of taking all the business himself.
“I’m trying to make it more popular to salvage wood and sell it,” Marshik said. “You can do it as much or as little as you want.”
With no overhead costs, such as a warehouse to store the wood, Marshik says the business is too small to fail.
“The work makes a great, solid, hourly gig,” Marshik said.
Plus, he actually likes the work. After 14 years of trudging through being a salesperson, the switch in career is well worth it. He said he now finds fulfillment in his work.
With obvious reduce-reuse-recycle undertones to his work, it’s no surprise that Marshik said he has been “daydreaming about the environmental recycling thing forever.”