Sustainability is a word that’s thrown around frequently on college campuses, particularly MSU. But Jason Belous sees things a little differently.
“I always get people that come up to me and say, ‘Oh, you’re the green builder — I just put bamboo in my house,’” he said.
Belous is the owner of against the Grain, or atG, a sustainable woodworking and millworking shop located in Lansing’s Old Town.
At atG, it’s not just about being environmentally friendly. Belous and his team believe to be truly sustainable, the product also must be able to sustain the community economically.
But for him, calling bamboo sustainable isn’t true.
“It comes from China — it comes from overseas,” he said. “You’re burning tons of fossil fuels.”
So when atG approaches a product, it uses materials it thinks truly are sustainable. That means using reclaimed wood and milling it in-shop. Belous gets wood from across the state, whether it’s trees felled from storms, old barns or ash trees cut down on MSU’s campus.
“If you can keep it in the community and not keep your dollar sent out, that’s gonna sustain us longer as a race,” Belous said.
“If you look at it as a economic point, buying locally is the most sustainable practice that you can do, even if though it might be a 50-year-old oak tree.”