Forecast: Global Reclaimed Timber Market to Hit $74B by 2030

Global climate commitments, a forecast four-fold increase in timber demand and a push for greater circularity in supply chains amongst key drivers.

Sun 25 Jun 23


The global market for reclaimed timber is expected to grow 20% over the next 5 years, driven by surging demand in North America and Asia Pacific, according to new data published by Orion Market Reports.

The market for reclaimed timber currently stands at USD 52.67 billion, with the market expected to grow to USD 64 billion – and by 2030, the market is expected to reach USD 73.58 billion.

Reclaimed timber refers to processed wood retrieved for reuse purposes in new applications.

Due to its age and slow growth, reclaimed timber is commonly regarded as superior to newly harvested wood and is less prone to issues such as shrinkage, warping, and twisting.

The decision by the West Australian and Victorian State Governments to accelerate the closure of native forest harvesting – not mentioned in the report – is expected to lead to an even greater demand for reclaimed timbers in the Australian market, with the supply of native hardwoods expected to be limited from next year.

Last week, Wood Central reported that the decision to close Victoria’s state forests will take 60% of Australia’s hardwood pallets out of the market – resulting in disruptions to supply chains.

In March 2023, a report published by Grand View Research identified rising environmental awareness, increasing inclination towards recycling, and intensifying provisions to deal with waste management-related issues as the major factors driving growth.

Mass Timber is a future market for utilisation

In addition, the construction sector has been observing an emerging trend of sustainable construction using Cross-Laminated Timber (CLT).

In a report published last week, the market for CLT is expected to triple over the next 8 years – from USD 1.048 billion in 2021 to USD 4.24 billion in 2031.

According to Grand View Research, the increasing push by developers and engineers towards tall wooden buildings to reduce the carbon footprint in the environment is expected to boost demand.

As it stands, reclaimed timber has yet to be used in CLT production.

However, researchers from University College London say that reusing timber from demolished timber could construct up to 10,000 more new homes in the United Kingdom alone.

Prototype Cross Laminated Secondary Timber (CLST) panels in use as table tops at Poplar’s Chrisp St Exchange co-working space. (Photo Credit: Christopher Pendrich)

Spun out from a 2016 research project, the July 2020 study, which led to the formation of ‘UK CLT’, showed no significant difference between the compression stiffness and strength of Cross Laminated Secondary Timber (CLST) and a control.

(Specimens of cross-laminated secondary timber for lab testing. Photo Credit: Alejandro Romero Perez de Tudela)

Now in 2023, researchers have the support from Danish engineering consultancy Ramboll, the National Interdisciplinary Circular Economy Research CE-Hub, the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council (EPSC) and the University College London to transform the research into new products.

The research team have developed a circular-economic model for Cross-Laminated Secondary Timber (CLST). (Image credit: UK CLT)
Furniture is driving the push for reclaimed timber and urban wood utilisation

The furniture segment leads the global market with a share of 31% and is projected to witness continued growth through 2028 – with the global government’s pushing for greater circularity in supply chains.

More than 133 countries have committed to circular economy principles, with 79 fully committed to adopting it as part of their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

In November last year Australia become the first country in the world to commit to a fully circular economy by 2030, with Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) revealing to Wood Central the importance of recycled timber in various applications, such as construction, furniture, and decoration, helping to minimise waste in driving the aims.

According to research commissioned by North Carolina State University, urban and reclaimed wood inherently fits within a circular economy.

Noting that “The reclaimed wood industry extends product life by remanufacturing previously utilized components from old structures, and the urban wood industry produces as-new, value-added products using salvaged urban logs as raw material input.”

The study published in the BioResources journal found that greater education and regulatory support were required to promote urban and reclaimed wood utlilisation.

“However, with proper education, a majority of stakeholders see the value in production with these resources over landfilling, whether through the sale of logs to local firms for value-added production or through chipping, firewood, or other low-value uses,” the study concludes.

An example of recycled or reclaimed timber in action. Footage courtesy of @woodworkingskill
Investment Opportunity with one of the world’s oldest underwater forestry operations

Last month, Wood Central reported on Hydrowood listing with ‘OnMarket’ – Australia’s largest equity raising platform.

There’s a global shortage of timber with demand set to quadruple by 2050,” Andrew Morgan, one of Hydrowood’s co-founders, told Wood Central.

“Australia is a net importer of timber products with a $2 billion trade deficit, and the gap is growing,” he said.

“With a reduction in native forestry production and reduced supply due to bushfires and increased demand for decorative timbers, Hydrowood is positioned to supply sought-after timbers into the future.”

Hydrowood has effectively extracted 6000 cubic metres of timber from Lake Pieman, with an additional 60,000 cubic metres yet to be gathered.

In addition, as custom-made furniture in Tasmania’s parliamentary offices. (Photo credit: Claire Bennett)

Its reclaimed timbers end up in the premium furniture market, with its sawn boards achieving a substantial premium in the marketplace.


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