With the U.S. presidential election dragging on so far without the property damage many stores expected, there’s an excess of plywood floating around. But it can be used for good.
The California Wildlife Center in Los Angeles is at least one nonprofit actively seeking donations of plywood from retailers and stores in the city, hundreds of which have been boarded up since Tuesday, and most of which remained so throughout this week.
The 2020 election, although long, has resulted in little to no damage to property, leaving the tons of plywood covering facades across L.A. and New York in near-new condition. Protests during the week have been sparse, relative to summer protests over the police killing of George Floyd that left retailers and businesses on high alert. But streets of many major cities remain under heavy police surveillance as former vice president Joe Biden increases his lead in electoral votes over President Trump.
“We have received a bit of plywood from one place so far, though we have promises for more once the retailers are done with what they have,” Jennifer Brent, executive director of CWC, said.
L.A. retailers committed to donate include Jenni Kayne and Jed Lind Interiors, both in West Hollywood, and Patagonia in Santa Monica, Brent said. Other commitments are starting to trickle in.
Part of the reason CWC is soliciting donations is that the demand for plywood, driven by retailers and businesses boarding up, has doubled, Brent said. It’s gone from $15 a sheet to $30 at Home Depot.
The price increase was going to force the CWC to “hold off on some projects,” Brent said. But if it gets enough donations, they can go ahead.
“We will be turning [the plywood] into enclosures for our animals and can only use plywood, not [chipboard], due to its durability outside in the elements,” she added.
But the CWC is not accepting donations from outside the L.A. Metro area.
In New York, it does not appear that local wildlife rescues and nonprofits are soliciting donations. And a representative of the New York State Wildlife Rehabilitation Council, an association of wildlife centers and rehabilitators, confirmed it hasn’t heard of an “coordinated effort.”
But the NYSWRC representative admitted, “I’m sure many rescues/rehab centers would indeed be happy to accept donated plywood.” The council will not coordinate or accept any donations, but suggested interested businesses reach out to wildlife centers directly.
Should the CWC in L.A. receive too many donations of plywood, it intends to share overages. Although that is, at this point, far from the case, a local food pantry has already inquired with CWC about any extra plywood the rescue may receive. Plywood and chipboard can generally be recycled as well, but tend to require special pickup, leaving many people to simply dump them in landfill-bound dumpsters for convenience.
The CWC has been rescuing animal wildlife since 1998 and claims to be the only such center in all of California that takes in land and marine animals for care and treatment with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. The organization operates through donations and volunteers.
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