Urban Wood Economy logo

What We Do

Millions of tons of usable wood from construction sites and downed trees in cities and towns are shipped as waste to landfills each year, resulting in staggering economic and environmental losses.

Urban Wood Economy is a national nonprofit turning those costs into gains. Our entrepreneurial model is leveraging untapped opportunities to cut CO2 emissions and create jobs by bringing urban and community wood utilization to scale.

“Recovered wood is a cash crop. By forging links in the supply chain, we’re building economies, capturing carbon, creating jobs and transforming communities.

Jeff Carroll | Co-Founder, Urban Wood Economy

downed tree log in foreground with chipper and truck behind it

Circumventing the landfill

When a tree in a city, town, neighborhood, or rural area—the wildland urban interface—comes down due to storm damage, age, disease, development or any number of other reasons, its fate is often the wood chipper or landfill. Instead, our model keeps this wood in circulation, providing value-added products and drastically reducing the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

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Deconstruction, not demolition

We work with our community partners to turn the building rehab paradigm on its head. Our collaborative projects showcase the fact that reclamation is a better value than wholesale demolition. Deconstruction — where usable wood is harvested instead of thrown on the trash heap — can reduce costs without delaying tight schedules, and is a meaningful source of jobs.

Two men working to remove a joist from a building being deconstructed
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Bulldozer moving large logs and wood debris

From waste stream to supply chain

Trees removed from communities are taken out of the waste stream and placed into the supply chain through an aggregation process. Known as biomass campuses, these innovative, high-volume, zero-waste aggregation sites process every part of the tree from roots to leaves into one of three products:

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Man in workshop touching a large piece of walnut wood ready for crafting.

High-Value Lumber

which is used by builders and other end users such as furniture manufacturers, architects, or artisans.

lumps of biochar that looks like charcoal


a versatile carbon-based product that has many diverse uses, such as a soil amendment and water filtration.

What is Biochar?

Group of people in front of a large pile of composted wood by-products

Nutrient-rich Compost

which supports plant growth as nature’s fertilizer everywhere from organic backyard gardening to large-scale agriculture.

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Woman planting a tree

And…the cycle continues

We don’t stop when the dust settles. We connect organizations that are planting and maintaining trees in the same communities where we’re working. By doing so, we’re creating local and regional jobs, and building a restorative and regenerative cycle that benefits everyone.