For over two decades, companies and individuals in the West have been struggling to keep our urban lumber, salvaged lumber, and reclaimed woods out of the waste stream and give them a second life…
All too often, we hear stories of beautiful wood that someone had just sent through a chipper because they didn’t realize there were other options – better options.
Neither the average tree service company or the homeowner realized there was value to these woods once their natural life providing beauty, habitat and shade had come to an end and they would send them to the landfill, to be burned, or to the chipper. At least when they were sent to the landfill they had a small chance of being found and salvaged out, but once they were chipped or burned, they were gone forever.
By networking together we can build awareness that brings these trees back into the social and economic lives of the communities they came from in the form of lumber, slabs, flooring, siding, furniture, art, architecture and other value added wood products. In some cases such as the blue stained pine from drought killed trees, there is such a high volume of material that needs to come out that these woods may need to be shipped out of the local area to ensure best and highest utilization.
This work to repurpose the trees has been done in a loosely cooperative manner in the past, and in 2017 formally networked to form Urban Salvaged and Reclaimed Woods Inc. a 501 (c) 3 :
Soon after networking we began to see that other networks around the nation were also working to rescue urban wood from the waste-stream and we realized that we could be more effective in our mission and less fragmented if we joined forces and united under one brand. It was decided that the name that best describes us collectively and the brand we would all unite under would be Urban Wood Network. Urban Salvaged & Reclaimed Woods Inc. is now doing business as the Urban Wood Network Western Region. Our goal will be to establish Urban Wood Network as a national brand and USRW Certified Woods as a go-to certified urban wood product for households and wood users across North America and beyond, thereby reducing our overall carbon footprint by reducing greenhouse gasses and utilizing both the urban, retired orchard, and the drought induced, beetle kill, and other forest salvage trees. The common denominator being that these are woods that were “not harvested for their timber value”.
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP?
THE LIFECYCLE OF AN URBAN TREE:
When you need a tree removed from your property, select a tree service or arborist who works closely with a sawmill owner to ensure that your trees are put to their highest use. Please keep in mind that few urban trees have a value that exceeds the cost of removal and processing, so it is unlikely that you will be paid for your trees. But there are positive reasons other than economics to salvage your trees, including the environment, tribute to the tree at the hands of a craftsman, rich backstory of the future antiques that are made from them, and so much more.
Replant the right tree in the right place.
Select wood products for your future projects that are Urban, Salvaged, and Reclaimed. And look for the USRW Certified wood brand. If you don’t know where to find these, ask us, we can help.
Purchase finished wood products that are made from Urban, Salvaged, and Reclaimed woods. We all use wood products in our lives every day. The next time you have opportunity to buy some, check first to see if it is available from an Urban Wood Network member using USRW Certified Wood. You can also look to replace your plastics and other products with this natural renewable environmentally- friendly resource.