Submitted to: Journal Of Arboriculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: It is not clear if converting urban waste logs (2.65 M cubic yards per year valued at $132.5 M) into lumber can provide an extra income to arborists. Presently, most of these logs are dumped into landfills (where permissible) or other places not ordinarily visible to the public, and others are cut into the less valued firewood. With this situation, overburdened landfills increase, environmental problems emerge, transportation cost increases, and a potential resource disappears. This work provides the much needed baseline information that arborist can use in starting a small scale sawmill operation. Based on our professional evaluation, a 15-25% return on investment is highly achievable with a portable bandmill and especially with free logs (42% of national total urban tree residue) to saw. Special sawing projects on location as requested by log owners and/or renting the equipment ($10-20/hour) occasionally are options that can generate greater income. Arborists should seriously consider converting these urban waste logs to increase profit and eliminate cost of disposal (tipping fee and transportation).
Technical Abstract: There is a lack of information on the economic and technical feasibility of sawmilling urban waste logs (2.65 M cubic yards per year valued at $132.5 M). Arborists continue to dump these logs to landfills (where permissible) and other places (legally or illegally) or convert these to less valuable products such as firewood and chips. These practices, in one way or another, create environmental problems, increase arboricultural operation expenses and perpetuate poor utilization of a resource. The intent of this paper is to provide crucial information along product marketing, facility selection, and investment considerations so arborists can be guided in taking this sawmilling option. Based on assessment of available information, it is highly economical and environmentally friendly to convert these urban logs into the more valuable dimension lumber. A return of 15-25% on investment is readily achievable especially if logs are obtained free (42% of national tree residue) and supply is readily available. We recommend this sawmilling option toarborists to increase their profits and business survival rate.