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Big Reuse Queens

3-17 26th Ave. Astoria, NY 11102
718-777-0132 x2

Big Reuse Brooklyn

69 9th St. Gowanus, NY 11215
718-725-8925 x2


Press Release:

Release Date: October 11, 2013


New York City’s First Nonprofit Sawmill for Reclaimed Lumber

(New York, NY) Big Reuse is pleased to announce the launch of BIG!Millworks, an urban sawmill program that reclaims and transforms urban wood waste into useful green building products and trains disadvantaged New Yorkers in the skills necessary to start a career in sustainable building industries.

“After Hurricane Sandy, we saw a half mile long, twenty foot high pile of storm damaged trees that was being chipped,” remembers Justin Green, Program Director and Founder of Big Reuse. The idea of BIG!Millworks had already been in the making, but the need was even more apparent after the storm.

“BIG!Millworks will provide a second life for wood waste - from fallen trees to joists from demolished buildings,” explains Green. This program will divert wood refuse from landfills while creating a greener option for building material purchases. Green continues, “It’s a process we can feel good about; we’re not destroying a forest for the lumber."

Each year in New York City an estimated 2,072,000,000 pounds* of wood waste is generated by the city’s construction and demolition industry.  Most of the wood waste is then landfilled or incinerated.  BIG!Millworks will divert a portion of this wood and create locally made, high quality lumber products such as boards, wall paneling and flooring.  At the same time, this program will create living wage, green jobs in NYC.

BIG!Millworks will employ and train workers from disadvantaged communities to work in the sawmill and woodshop. This program works with training programs at The Fortune Society and Consortium for Workers Education, and through NYC’s Young Adult Internship Program. Trainees at BIG!Millworks will learn about reclaimed lumber, material preparation, safety, and sawmill operations; gaining the skills necessary to work in a woodshop.

BIG!Millworks sawmill is located in a former foundry along the Astoria waterfront.  The milled boards, paneling, and flooring will be made from reclaimed lumber including structural timbers, rooftop water towers, retired scaffolding planks, and storm-damaged trees. "The lumber will have a history unique to NYC,” says Green.

Products areavailable for purchase by the public. The materials will be available at Big Reuse reuse centers in Queens and Brooklyn, and in large custom orders for construction and design projects. Email to request a quote.

The launch of BIG!Millworks has been made possible with help from NYC Business Innovation Challenge, a grant from the NYC Economic Development Corporation.  Wood-Mizer generously offered an educational discount on a new sawmill.

For additional information on BIG!Millworks products or to donate lumber to this program, please visit

*Construction and Demolition (C&D) Debris Detailed Composition Analysis for 2010 and PlaNYC 2011 chapter on Solid Waste.

Big Reuse is New York City's only nonprofit retail outlet for salvaged and surplus building materials. Big Reuse centers have everything from panel doors to high end refrigerators, window shutters to reclaimed lumber, kitchen cabinet sets to salvaged flooring. Their mission is to keep these materials out of the landfill, while offering deep discounts on their resale. Big Reuse is working towards reducing the amount of unnecessary construction and demolition (C&D) waste clogging US landfills, which contributes to pollution, GHG emissions, climate change and global warming. Founded in late 2004, the Queens warehouse opened in February of 2005 and the second reuse center opened in Brooklyn in November 2011. Both reuse centers are open seven days a week. In addition to our two reuse centers, we also support local environmental initiatives, such as BIG!Compost in Western Queens. Learn more at


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Our Food Scrap Drop-off program serviced 1000 households per week in 2015!

Our Big Gives Back program has given away $300,000 worth of materials benefiting NYC's community and environment.

We processed 765,477 pounds of food scraps and accepted 237,554 pounds of wood chips and leaf matter in 2015! That's over 1 million pounds of organic material diverted from landfills!

Our Big Blooms program has given away 5,345 pieces of retired lumber to build 2,226 garden beds in over 1,269 community and school gardens.

The greenhouse gas emissions prevented by our diversion efforts is equivalent to saving 360,000 gallons of gasoline!