Cutting and splitting wood on a hot day might not be an idea of fun for most people. But for one local known as “Cayman’s recycling king,” it can be good for the pocketbook.
It started with Emile Levy taking a long, hard look at the amount of charcoal and hardwood that is brought into Cayman, and what he saw got him fired up.
He also noticed how much wood from chopped down trees is being sent to the landfill to be dumped, that with a little effort could be reused and repurposed.
“It is strangely alarming to know that so much of this stuff is brought into the country, when we have so much of our own wood, such as logwood, almond, neem, casuarina, grape tree, mahogany, black mangra, buttonwood, almond wood, candle wood and the list goes on, that can be used,” said Mr. Levy.
“Wood was our original energy supply for cooking, and supplied energy for many other different things as well,” said Mr. Levy.
His interest was piqued when he noticed that supermarkets and other hardware stores charge $24.99 for a 20 pound bag of charcoal that is brought from Kentucky.
Firewood, for example, hardwood brought from North Carolina, he noted, is sold for $18.95 for a 15 pound bag, while in Cayman there are at least 12 different woods that can be used for firewood.
“We do not need to import that energy.” Mr. Levy said.
He decided to build on his successful “Siggy” bags business line by adding firewood to the mix, and distribute it to his customers and resellers at the farmers’ market.
Mr. Levy’s Siggy bags are shopping bags made from recycled feed sacks, that have taken off as a unique and signature craft item.
“I have already talked to individuals at the market and they say the firewood is a great idea, just like the Siggy bag,” said Mr. Levy.
To make the business line more attractive, and since he is already considered to be Cayman’s King of Recycling, Mr. Levy said that for $25, he can give the people of Cayman 40 pounds of Cayman firewood.
Mr. Levy’s plan is to package the firewood in his distinctive Siggy bags, sporting a special design that would make them easy to identify.
The firewood is already available for distribution islandwide. Mr. Levy is working on employing two Caymanians on a permanent basis to cut and bag the wood for the market.
“I have a sufficient amount of wood collected to keep the business going [for now] but I need to have a continuing supply,” he said.
Mr. Levy is appealing to people who have trees and large branches cut on their property to contact him. He said he is willing to take them before property owners need to arrange to cart them off to the landfill.
It looks like a win-win for everyone.
“I will take the trees, cut them up and have the firewood available for people to purchase,” said Mr. Levy.