Astoria, Queens is officially home to a new urban sawmill. Build It Green!NYC and Tri-Lox Workshop recently announced the launch of BIG!Millworks, a recycling wood works site housed within the BIG! reuse center in Queens. Located on 26 Avenue, just off the corner of fourth avenue, it’s a stone’s throw away from the Astoria waterfront. Like other BIG!NYC programs, BIG!Millworks aims to reclaim and transform urban wood waste into useful new green building products. The new sawmill hopes to make a dent in the estimated 2,072,000,000 pounds of wood waste per year generated by the city’s construction industry, reusing the lumber to create boards, wood paneling, and flooring.

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Justin Green, Program Director and Founder of BIG!NYC, says he realized the greater need to provide a second life for wood waste after Hurricane Sandy. Soon after the super storm passed, he witnessed workers reducing a half-mile long, 20-foot high pile of storm-damaged trees into woodchips. To prevent the same thing from happening again, BIG!Millworks seeks to repurpose all kinds of wood, from structural timbers to rooftop water towers to retired scaffolding planks and even storm-damaged trees.

On top of reusing wood, the BIG!Millworks will train and employ workers from “disadvantaged communities” to work in the sawmill and woodshop. The program works with training programs at The Fortune Society and Consortium for Workers Education, and through NYC’s Young Adult Internship Program. Trainees enrolled in the program will learn all the in-and-outs of reclaimed lumber from material preparation, safety, and sawmill operations, and gaining the skills necessary to work in a woodshop.

Green says that everything made at the sawmill will be available for purchase later this year at Build It Green!NYC reuse centers in Queens and Brooklyn. Meanwhile, the BIG!Millworks will also provide larger orders for green-minded construction projects.

+ BIG!Millworks

Images © BIG!Millworks