BBE graduate student, Anna Pitti, and associate professor, Omar Espinoza, investigate ways to expand markets for urban and reclaimed wood products through marketing.

March 4, 2019

Note: This is an excerpt from the article "Marketing Practices in the Urban and Reclaimed Wood Industries" by the Forest Products Management Development Institute (FPMDI) and written by BBE graduate student, Anna Pitti, and BBE associate professor, Omar Espinoza

To read the full article in its original format, please click here. To visit FPMDI's website to learn more about their recent work, please click here

Stack of logs

Figure 1: Sources of urban wood, Milwaukee municipal supply.

Traditionally, logs from trees originating in urban areas of the US and wood elements generated through construction and demolition (C&D) projects have been disposed of as low value resources, typically through chipping, burning, or landfilling.

There are approximately 74 billion trees in urban areas of the US, and when trimming or removal is necessary, they are considered ”wood waste.” It was estimated that, of the 34.2 million tons of wood-based municipal solid waste (MSW) generated in 2010, 18.4 million tons of woody yard trimmings like urban trees and limbs were disposed of, with 4.0 million tons available for recovery (Figure 1). 

Reclaimed wood includes all previously utilized wood products brought back into circulation, largely originating from structures like old barns and buildings (Figure 2). In 2010, approximately 36.4 million tons of C&D wood waste were generated in the US, with approximately 17.3 million tons available for recovery. In recent years, new industries have emerged to capitalize on timber from urban trees and reclaimed wood by offering unique aesthetics, historical significance, sustainability, and sentimentality derived from inimitable wood supplies. These industries also provide economic opportunities in their communities and make use of an underutilized resource to produce high value- added products. This publication presents the results of a research project that used a nation-wide survey to develop an industry profile of firms operating in the urban and reclaimed wood industries, with emphasis on marketing practices.

To read the rest of the article and find out more about current marketing practices in the urban and reclaimed wood industries, then visit this website and click on the link labeled "FPMDI Spring 2019 Newsletter."

Fig. 2. Reclaimed wood raw materials