Urban Ashes is one of more than 30 Michigan companies, organizations and nonprofits partnering in the program that targets the missed opportunities and wasted natural resources within the urban forests of Michigan. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that Michigan loses about 1.7 million tons of furniture grade lumber valued at $27.6 million to the waste stream each year. Urban Ashes said it is on a mission to help the state dramatically change this incredible missed opportunity.
Urban Ashes is led by Paul Hickman, who recently took on the role to organize the Michigan chapter of Urban Wood Network. has a more than 25-year history in urban wood utilization, including the last 10 years manufacturing picture frames, furniture and other secondary wood products. As a partner with NextCycle, Urban Ashes hopes to maximize the value and environmental impact of underutilized urban wood by collaborating with municipalities and corporations to build “Circular UrbanWood Triconomies.”
NextCycle Michigan is a new initiative of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). It is an idea incubator that provides technical support, expert mentoring, and resources. This program offers an innovative pathway to identify and incubate ideas that will grow Michigan’s recycled materials supply.
NextCycle Michigan is funded through state funds and private and non-profit partnership investments identified through the Renew Partnership Portal. Funding partners sustain the program and increase opportunities for statewide recovery projects.
As a NextCycle Michigan Partner, Urban Ashes is demonstrating its commitment to sustaining the program and increasing opportunities through new projects, partnerships, collaborative efforts, or direct support for NextCycle Michigan Innovation Challenges.
Each year, Michigan landfills accept 6.8 million tons of material, including urban tree removals, that could be recycled. It is estimated that recovering 2.7 million tons of that material could generate $9 billion in potential annual labor income and $33 billion in potential economic output, elevating Michigan’s diversion rate to 45%.
Currently, Michigan has gaps at every link in the recycling supply chain – access to recycling, comprehensive collection and sorting, robust end markets and material processing, and innovative recycled-content manufacturing.
NextCycle Michigan’s diverse membership includes Ice Mountain, Henry Ford Health System, Michigan State University, Meijer, and Goodwill.
Learn more about NextCycle Michigan.
Learn more about Urban Ashes.