Each year, the volume of wood removed from urban areas in the United States increases as developed areas expand and as trees need to be removed for public safety and other reasons. Tree removals that result from pests, storms, hazards, and other circumstances are creating vast amounts of urban “waste” wood in communities around the country, including those in Minnesota. In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul, strong markets are emerging for recycling this waste material into useful products. The presence of tree service firms, wood recyclers, niche businesses, and ancillary wood-using companies within the Twin Cities has made people more aware of wood utilization activities. In Minneapolis-St. Paul, all the key elements for a successful industry cluster exist—businesses, companies, and organizations within a geographic region have closely aligned interests and have developed mutually beneficial links to one another. As the development of this sustainable urban wood utilization initiative gains momentum, the Twin Cities could potentially be a model for other communities.
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