Manti family turns trash into sustainable home heating
By Lauren Evans
MANTI – In a family home tucked away in Manti, Jerry and Ken Sorenson have innovated the perfect way to not only heat their home, but also reduce their carbon footprint.
Jerry Sorensen lives in his four-generationally owned home with his family and his father, Ray Sorensen. They have a yard of ducks, chickens, pheasants, quail and a fish pond filled with natural runoff water at first glance.
The home is over 100 years old with original wood flooring and wooden furniture. The walls are decorated with family heirlooms and original art pieces. An old potbelly stove sits against the wall burning not wood logs, but actually the family’s recycled trash logs.
Ken Sorensen was watching a PBS program about a family that had been compacting biological materials to create burnable bricks to avoid using charcoal. Ken found his
inspiration from this concept to create something similar for his own home.
Ken and Jerry began building a mechanism to compact materials into solid,
burnable pieces. After a few attempts, Ken and Jerry built their most recent model out of scrap metal they had laying around, costing them absolutely nothing.
The Sorensen family uses their paper and cardboard trash from the house to create their ecofriendly logs. “We discovered we throw away a lot of paper,” Jerry said. “Now any paper we use we just throw in the shredder.”
The paper products from the house are shredded and mixed with water. The wet paper is then used to fill short, wide plastic pipes. Using the lever, the paper is
pressed down as the water squeezes out of small holes drilled into the pipes. The logs are removed from the pipe and left in the sun to dry out. The family also uses leaves, sawdust and grass clippings from around the yard to make the logs.
The Sorensen family not only uses the logs to heat the family home, but they are also used to cook in the original wood burning cooktop stove they have in the kitchen. Th e family cooked their entire Thanksgiving dinner using the homemade logs and old stove the past two years.
Jerry says, “Some people say it’s inconvenient to take out ashes but I think it’s inconvenient to have to work longer to pay your utility bills. We’re recycling and getting rid of our garbage while heating our home.” This creative step is ecofriendly and saves money leaving everyone satisfied.