Trees recycled into garden furniture

Local trees otherwise destined for landfill are being turned into handcrafted garden furniture and other bespoke products in a joint venture between The Fifth Trust, Canterbury City Council and its parks and grounds contractor, Serco.

The Fifth Trust Horticulture Manager Peter Buscall explains: “Occasionally a tree must be felled in one of the Council’s parks or gardens, or it falls down or becomes diseased. With this new sustainability scheme, timber from these trees can be turned into furniture or other products, giving it a new lease of life. We benefit from being able to sell the resulting products and the Council saves money in landfill costs.”

The trees are sawn into planks by Serco and delivered to The Fifth Trust. Skilled carpenters work with the students to carefully craft the recycled trees into bespoke items available to order, with tables costing £330 + VAT and benches costing £185 + VAT.

Canterbury City Council’s Senior Contracts Manager for Commissioned Services, Tracy Flower, who is co-ordinating the sustainability project, says: “We have built a strong relationship with The Fifth Trust over the past six years. The charity’s Vineyard Garden Centre supplies us with plants and hanging baskets and their garden maintenance teams have helped out in our community gardens and cemeteries, as well as supporting In Bloom entries in Canterbury and Herne Bay.

“With this new joint venture sustainability project, every plank can be traced back to its original source. When we remove a tree from an area, we will replace it where appropriate. Other parts of the felled tree can also be reused, with smaller pieces utilised for bird boxes and other wood products, and the remainder seasoned and made available as logs for wood burners. Money raised from selling benches and tables will be spent on the area from where the tree was removed. It makes for sound environmental good practice, provides additional amenities for the public and supports The Fifth Trust’s work.”