Artful Recycling at Rustic Havens

Rustic Havens; the name oozes country living and hand-made home décor. In Wadena it’s a popular new recycling venture for Mallard Diversified Services Inc. (MDSI), born out of a need to reinvent when MDSI said goodbye to can and glass recycling.

Left to right, back row, Kari Potter, Erin Zorn, and supervisor Jodelle Mierke; front, Wilf Taphorn, Audrey Davitko with Charlie Dog on leash, brothers Dennis and Victor Baranosky, and Emil Johnson Feil. Wilf and Victor are holding wall hangings made from recycled hardwood flooring.

Rustic Havens is tucked away in the corner of the Wash & Wear store located in the MDSI complex, an overflow of the mainstreet store. As soon as one walks in, the art deco designs jump out from the back wall, their colours pleasing to the eye, displaying the end product of most of the recycling that now occurs here.

The main industry for MDSI is the production of pallets, some 20,000 annually. The heat-treated pallets circumnavigate the globe with produce and products. Specialized crates and boxes used for shipping are also manufactured, and the byproduct, sawdust, ends up being recycled here.

Wilf Taphorn, left, and Victor Baranosky, production line sanders.

The light industries side contributes items such as laundry soap and winter hats. The outcome of a confidential paper-shredding business is recycled by adding it to the sawdust from the heavy industry side through a simple short process that turns it into fire bricks that can be purchased from the store.

Kari Potter hard at work.

Kari Potter hard at work.

Jodelle Mierke, supervisor for Rustic Havens, oversees the design and production of the home décor products, rustic signs, frames and personal commission pieces that customers request. Everything is made of recycled wood that is cleaned, cut, sanded, painted or stained, sanded again and transformed into the attractive designs.

Erin staining r

Erin Zorn has been sanding a stained part of a new design.

Mierke says the employees get more out of this than the now discontinued, here, recycling of cans and glass. This is more creative and each employee has a share in the work of the finished product.

So many different arts and crafts projects! Is there anything this industrious crew can't do?

So many different arts and crafts projects! Is there anything this industrious crew can’t do?

Mierke splits the process into small steps, then trains each employee in each step, from sanding to staining to painting to the final product. This gives the employees satisfaction, as their personal input leads to a visible finished product.

The idea for Rustic Havens was born of the need to replace the glass and can recycling that was a previous occupation at this location. The idea developed and grew into what it is now — a truly remarkable example of recycling.

By Andy Labdon


Wadena News


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