By Michelle Glicksman
When Aaron Moreno was 9, he built his first piece of furniture.
“My uncle owned a construction company and my grandfather taught me how to swing an ax,” he says. “I loved the feeling of creating something that could be useful out of an old stack of wood.”
At the time, he never imagined that building furniture—and doing his part to save the planet—would one day be his career and passion.
What is Drift?
Fast-forward to today, and he now owns Drift (www.driftreclaimed.com), a reclaimed wood company that restores wood and uses it to create quality furniture, restaurant buildouts, yoga studios, unique home accent pieces, and nearly anything you can dream up.
“When shopping for furniture for my first home, the options seemed to either lack quality or be ridiculously expensive. I felt like there had to be a better option, and when I couldn’t find it, I decided to build it myself,” he explains. “I have always had the desire to be an entrepreneur and pave a new road. I wanted to start a business that had an impact on the world and met a need, and hence, Drift was born!”
Moreno’s designs are inspired by nature. An outdoorsman who enjoys camping, traveling and ocean activities, he emulates the natural tones found in nature.
“There is a reason that we find peace in nature, and I aspire to share that same impact in our homes,” he says.
Every Drift creation is hand-made, and made in the United States by Moreno and his team. Although they mainly focus on dining tables, shelving, coffee tables and media centers, the Drift team has done everything from building a reclaimed wood bird perch to a complete restaurant overhaul. The company’s website showcases ready-to-purchase items, or, clients can order custom pieces, as well.
“I started Drift because custom furniture should not only be for the affluent. It can be affordable and it can be made in the USA,” he says. “It’s all about individuality and we all have our own specific furniture needs.”
Helping to Save the Environment
“Over nine million tons of furniture ends up in landfills every year. This is so unnecessary. A lot of it is beautiful wood, full of character and uniqueness, that can be repurposed into exquisite furniture,” Moreno shares.
In addition to wood from old items, Drift’s wood is sourced from dilapidated barns and structures throughout the U.S., and following hurricanes and natural disasters, the company collects fallen wood that would have otherwise been disposed of.
As well as repurposing wood, Moreno works to save the environment in other ways, as well. First, for every item sold, Drift plants a tree.
“Trees are amazing for so many reasons,” he explains. “They give us oxygen and help regulate the planet. Globally, we have a long way to go with sustainability and the more trees we can plant, the better. And, who doesn’t have fond memories of climbing trees when we were kids?”
As well, he is currently working on a recycling program that will allow people to bring their furniture, or any hard wood, to Drift’s facility. He will be instituting an incentive program for this, to encourage people to take advantage of the program instead of sending items to landfills. “There are a lot of details that we are still working on, but the opportunity for impact is very exciting,” he shares.
Furniture That Lasts
Creating furniture or items from wood has another benefit—longevity.
“Our grandparents used to purchase a dinner table with the idea that it would last a lifetime. We now live in a time where people look at furniture as temporary,” Moreno says. “A lot of the furniture out there today is made out of non-organic materials that are not recyclable and do not last. The wood we use at Drift is all hard wood and it will last for decades.”
And with all that use comes the opportunity to make memories, as Moreno points out by sharing a story about one of his favorite items that he’s made to date.
“I had the opportunity to build a table for a large family in New Jersey,” he shares. “This table accommodated 14 people around it and was designed to foster conversation and interaction. I love hearing about the holidays celebrated, the memories made, and the love shared around the pieces we build. This specific table was made out of reclaimed walnut that could have easily ended up in a landfill. Instead, it offered a gathering place for this wonderful family.
“I love taking something that is old and regarded as useless and giving it purpose. When I see an old piece of wood that probably would have ended up in a landfill and repurpose it into a piece of furniture that one of my clients will enjoy in their home, it makes me happy.”
Keep up with all of Green Living’s content by visiting our website.
Michelle Glicksman is a writer and editor focusing on sustainable living, beauty, fashion and travel. When she’s not writing, she’s driving her kids everywhere. Follow her on Instagram at @michelleglicksman.