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Dumpster Diving

The first step in the Scrapile process is to acquire raw materials. Salgado and Bettencourt are beggars, not choosers: Any wood—from cherry to walnut—will do. With help from a local nonprofit, NY Wa$teMatch, they’ve found a number of mills, lumberyards, and other businesses happy to offload their detritus. It helps that Scrapile’s studio—–a 5,000-square-foot space they share with Bart’s other business, Bettencourt Green Building Supplies—is in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, home to considerable light industry. “We’re literally surrounded by hundreds of woodworking shops,” says Salgado. “It’s a cost-benefit for them: They don’t have to fill up their dumpsters as much.” Over the course of a year, that can add up to a substantial savings for the donor, and a windfall in free material for Scrapile, to say nothing of the environmental benefit. Everyone wins.

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Scrapile doesn’t discriminate against any wood, but they are meticulous in arranging the pieces into single sheets.

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    The Pi Table

    Scrapile—Pull up a chair to one of Scrapile’s impossibly elegant dining tables and you’d never guess that the materials used to create it had once been destined for a landfill. Founded in 2003 by Carlos Salgado and Bart Bettencourt, Brooklyn-based Scrapile repurposes cast-off scrap wood to create crisp modern furnishings. Salgado and Bettencourt met in the mid 1990s, doing installation work at the now-defunct SoHo branch of the Guggenheim Museum. “We were both appalled by the waste at the Guggenheim,” says Salgado. “Between exhibitions everything got demoed, and it was still good material. It just sat on our consciences.” Years later, they found themselves at a studio staring at a pile of wood, wondering what could be made from it. The query yielded two benches—the seeds of Scrapile. The collection has been growing ever since.

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