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Seattle gets $4M to create 'circular wood economy'

caption: Stacks of lumber.
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Stacks of lumber.

The city of Seattle is getting a $4 million federal grant to launch a salvaged wood warehouse that will support a "circular wood economy."

The idea is to reduce waste and prevent perfectly good wood from going to the landfill. The program boosts the recovery of wood from older homes that are taken apart, instead of being demolished. The result is a circular wood economy.

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According to the grant, which comes from the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the recycled wood will primarily come from residential structures that are torn down in the city. The grant pays for a warehouse to store, process, and organize such material. The city anticipates that the program could produce about 150 tons of usable wood per year.

Kinley Deller, the construction and demolition program manager for King County, gave a presentation in June, explaining what a circular wood economy looks like.

"If there is a lot of material in there that could and should be going to higher use, we feel we have a responsibility to guiding that material in a better direction that how it is currently being used in the landfill," Deller said in his presentation.

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"We're working to put a system in place that will take these materials from buildings and put them back into new buildings and lock up that carbon ... and create a number of other benefits along the way."

Deller notes that there are about 350,000 tons of untreated wood being generated at job sites in King County each year. From that, about 60,000 tons of wood are being sent to the dump.

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