Locals Are Abuzz about New Urban Sawmill
CitiLog Newark is the state's first zero-waste facility that processes urban lumber
New Jersey's first urban sawmill is in Essex County's neck of the woods.
Officials held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for CitiLog Newark Tuesday for the zero-waste facility that straddles East Orange and Newark on Springdale Avenue.
The new sawmill, which occupies four acres of former brownfield land, intakes as much as 600 logs a month of wood waste from parks, backyards and streets in urban areas. Instead of ending up in landfills, that wood is then "upcycled" and repurposed into material for furniture, flooring, outdoor siding and doors.
Wood drop-offs are free and already the plant has gotten loads from Montclair, Livingston, Linden, Summit, Irvington, Newark, East Orange and Secaucus.
Nothing goes to waste, CitiLog officials stressed – even leftover tree stumps are turned into decorative flower planters.
"I do believe, and I know Stubby's vision is, this model ... can be placed in multiple places, in cities that need opportunity, need these jobs that people just can't find…" said CitiLog President Maria Warmbold, whose husband, Stubby, conceptualized the cutting-edge sawmill in 1991.
The all-green plant, which generates its own electricity, heating and eventually cooling, processes between 15,000 to 18,000 board feet of lumber a day. At full capacity, it will employ as many as 40 people, including ex-offenders through a partnership with the New Jersey Parole Board.
"You're not just recycling logs…" said Lenny Ward, director of the state Parole Board, "you're actually helping people, like my ex-offenders, turn their lives around."
Four of CitiLog Newark's 13 current employees are ex-offenders.
Donald Van Dyke was fortunate enough to snag a job as a welder at CitiLog Newark immediately after graduating Bloomfield Tech – a job he's grateful to have.
"I was a year off in high school, I was the only person out of my class to not go to college," said Van Dyke, 19. "I wanted to do well and have a career in welding. It's a great opportunity."
"When (Stubby) says nothing is put to waste, nothing is put to waste," he added with a laugh about the facility's prospective zero-waste toilet system.