Three benefits about reusing and profiting from wood waste:
1. Firewood can be a real benefit to employees
Wood waste that is turned into firewood can be very profitable. There are many tree care companies that run booming businesses processing firewood … cutting, sawing, splitting, seasoning, drying, and then selling and even delivering to the public — in high demand in areas like the Northeast. But in addition to/in place of selling, it can also be processed and used to heat your company’s offices or warehouses (drastically saving you money on heating bills) or distributed to employees to use in their fireplaces at home. In areas with tough, long winters, free firewood can make a world of difference and — from an owner’s perspective — can be a cheap way to keep employees happy. Nothing wrong with perks, right? Also, consider getting into the firewood business as a way to keep employees working during traditionally slow times.
“We sell firewood but mostly do it to provide work for employees during slow times,” says Mark Malmstrom, ISA certified arborist and owner of Total Tree Care Inc. in Providence, Utah. “We only keep the high quality hardwood. Because we are selective in what we keep, process, and sell we have repeat customers that like the high-quality wood they get from us and we sell out every year.”
2. Municipalities can really benefit from using wood waste
In the “Debris into Dollars” article, we talked mostly about how tree care companies can profit from and productively recycle wood waste. We didn’t touch much on municipalities and what they do with this facet of the industry. It’s essentially the same — wood waste can be a nice source of a profit for a city or township and can also provide benefits to the community. Mostly regarding mulch and firewood. For example, in Ashland, Ohio, firewood is $55 per truckload and the city delivers for free inside city limits. They charge depending on distance to deliver outside the city limits. Mulch is $15 per yard, again with free delivery inside city limits (with a 3-yard minimum load). If you are a municipal arborist in charge of your city’s arborist department, consider engaging in these services — if you have the necessary equipment, personnel and expertise — if you aren’t already doing so.
3. Other ways to use wood waste
It’s not all about mulch, firewood and lumber. Tree care companies can also engage in composting with their wood waste, or wood waste they take in. For example, compost can be made from leaves that area landscapers drop off if such arrangements are made. After about a year, the leaf mulch can be ground and then composted for another year, at which point it is screened through composting equipment. Tree care companies can also make topsoil product from stump grindings, which can be sold to customers coming in to buy mulch — a win-win for everybody. Including the environment.