Tag: urban ashes

Urban Ashes Partners with NextCycle Michigan


Urban Ashes of Saline, MI, announced its commitment as a NextCycle Michigan Partner to maximize opportunities for developing recycling, recovery, and sustainable businesses in Michigan.

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.




Michigan Urbanwood Tour Set for July 28

A tour of urban wood businesses and projects in and around greater Ann Arbor, MI, is scheduled for Friday, July 28. The tour will shed light on a variety of innovative ways that dead and dying community trees are being put to use.

Tour stops include:

• Urban Ashes, an artisan picture frame and furniture maker in Saline, MI;
• Recycle Ann Arbor’s Birge Urbanwood Center, an urban lumber marketplace;
• AADL’s Traverwood Branch, a green building that uses local salvaged logs;
• Michigan State University’s Shadows Program, an program that makes collectibles from campus trees;
Tervol’s Wood Products, a local family-owned sawmill; and
• Birge Urbanwood Center Woodworker Showcase, a one-day exhibition of urban wood furniture, artwork and more.

Lunch and refreshments are included in the $20 registration fee.

The tour is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. The registration deadline is Friday, July 14. RSVP is required as seating is limited.

The event is hosted by the Sustainable Resources Alliance (formerly the SE Michigan RC&D Council) and Recycle Ann Arbor. Funding for this event is from the Bringing Urban Forestry Full Circle grant project which is supported by the USDA Forest Service Northeastern Area, State and Private Forestry Landscape Scale Restoration Grant Program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities and is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

Click here to learn more and to register.



Picture This: Ex-Cons Reclaim Urban Wood and Their Lives

urban-ashes-picture-framesUrban Ashes of Ann Arbor, MI, is giving diseased trees and disrupted lives a second chance.

The company specializes in the manufacture picture frames from reclaimed wood from the urban forest trees infested by the emerald ash borer and deconstructed buildings. Urban Ashes’ phenomenal growth is evidenced by the more the more than 200 stores in 40 states that now sell its custom frames, according to a report by the MLive.

The newspaper’s feature on Urban Ashes and its owner Paul Hickman focuses on the role former prison inmates are playing in the company’s success.

“The people part of our story now are even more important to me than the wood is,” Hickman told MLive. “Both were once often considered and discarded as waste. Now both are combining to create an unrivaled story and collection of Michigan-made goods.”

Read the article and view the slide show.