Since fall 2020, L’École Nationale du Meuble et de l’Ébénisterie (ÉNMÉ) de Montréal has developed a new service for its students and teachers; a wood library where scrap wood that can be reused for other purposes is recovered.
Adeline Seneclauze, a 2020 graduate of the AEC in cabinetmaking at ENME and now a project manager in circular economy at Inovem, explains: “Students who choose to study cabinetmaking are fundamentally passionate about materials”, and it was precisely to protect the raw material of wood and to think about how to create differently that she proposed this material library project to ENME.
It is a bigger project than she had originally imagined, a Montreal-wide material library where material left behind by woodworking workshops and businesses could be recycled. She presented her project to the Fondation Montréal inc. a philanthropic foundation that offers grants and privileged access to Greater Montreal’s business networks to future entrepreneurs during the start-up phase of their business. Her application enabled her to join the “Entreprendre au féminin” program, during which she was able to validate the ideation phase of her project, carry out an initial market study and build her business plan. It was also during this training that she came up with the idea of testing out her wood library project and validating its operation at ENME.
It was finally as part of the sustainable development course offered in fall 2020 by teacher Catherine Lafortune that the project came to fruition, thanks to the involvement of three other students enrolled in the Furniture and Cabinetmaking Techniques program. La Réserve is the name given to the place where scrap materials are sorted and stored. In addition to having access to material previously destined for waste to carry out various personal projects, students who wish can also join an eco-design research team that is called upon to think up new solutions.
“La Réserve is an inspiring and unifying project. In a short space of time and with the involvement of the staff, the students have fitted out a room, redesigned the waste garbage cans in the photos in the this link workshops, found turnkey projects with prototypes, or plans so that people have concrete ideas of what they can create with waste. What we want now is for the project to become sustainable,” said Julie Crevier, coordinator of ENME Montréal at the time.
And now it’s done. La Réserve has now been in operation on the Montreal campus for 4 years. The teachers have integrated wood sorting and recovery practices into their courses, and the students benefit from the system daily. And over the past 2 years, with INOVEM’s help in managing the implementation, the system has also been extended to the Victoriaville campus.
Today, in schools in Montreal and Victoriaville, student committees have taken charge of the project, ensuring the smooth running of this new method of acquiring resources and raising awareness within the school community.
Over the past 4 years, several projects using reclaimed wood have come to fruition: Xavier Martel, graduating from ÉNMÉ in 2023, completed his graduation project 100% with wood from La Réserve. He has shown that, with careful planning, it is possible to give these scraps a second chance and turn them back into a raw material.
Through all these projects, students explore their entrepreneurial fiber, and appreciate and understand the added value of reusing this raw material that is so dear to their environment.
The enthusiasm for La Réserve can be felt on many levels, and it was with pride that the maintenance staff announced that: on the Victoriaville campus alone, since La Réserve was created, more than 20 cubic meters per session of scrap wood have been diverted from landfill and recycled into raw materials.
For ÉNMÉ, this is a project that is bearing fruit: implementing the right gestures that define the future for our students.
ÉNMÉ and INOVEM, along with 6 other European countries, are involved in the international Mosaic project. Sustainable development and the circular economy are one of the project’s key objectives and are at the heart of the discussions. Together, the Mosaic participants aim to put forward solutions for sharing knowledge and actions leading to the acquisition of everyday gestures conducive to achieving environmental objectives.