The case for urban and reclaimed wood in the circular economy

Anna R. Pitti, Omar Espinoza, Robert Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Circular economy production, or upcycling of traditional waste products, has evolved in alignment with consumer driven accountability and demand for environmentally friendly alternatives. In recent years, industries have emerged to upcycle materials for value-added production. This paper presents case study interview results used to gather information about current marketing practices within the urban and reclaimed wood industries, which upcycles trees felled in urban areas and wood generated through construction and demolition. Firms reported entering the industry for a variety of reasons, most frequently surrounding intangible raw material and product attributes. Interviewees reported generating primarily made-to-order products, made-to-stock furniture, mantels, slabs, lumber, beams, flooring, millwork, and other products priced largely in line with their competition. Promotion consisted primarily of word of mouth, company webpages, social media, and event participation, such as craft fairs or trade shows. Firms relayed messages of sustainability, local production, quality, and emotional value. Companies primarily participate in direct, retail, or online sales, which have become increasingly prevalent. This paper outlines opportunities to explore, as well as barriers to overcome through examination of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats present in the internal and external environments of the urban and reclaimed wood industries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5226-5245
Number of pages20
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank all participating companies. The work upon which this publication was funded, in part, came through a grant awarded by the Wood Education and Resource Center, Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry, USDA Forest Service. This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, North Carolina State University.


  • Case studies
  • Forest products
  • Marketing
  • Reclaimed wood
  • Wood


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