The housing recession probably isn't good for your business, but its far-reaching effects could be great for your wood waste. Although sawdust still isn't worth its weight in gold, the price per ton is up from $25 to more than $100 in some areas because less building means less waste, according to a March 3 article in the Wall Street Journal titled "Sawdust Shock: A Shortage Looms As Economy Slows."

The article goes on to outline the economic impact of the shortage, which is driving up costs for farmers with livestock, horse boarding businesses, and surprisingly wineries, which use oak shavings to flavor some wines. Even oil rig operators (who pour sawdust into caverns when hunting for oil to give drill bits something to sink into) are being pushed to pay top dollar for shavings. The article says that one business owner who relies on the stuff to make pellets for wood-burning stoves is now grinding up lumber from old houses for his sawdust fix.

After marveling at the versatility of sawdust (who knew such a humble byproduct had so many uses), I began to wonder if woodworking companies nationwide were charging extra for their extras. Have these premium prices hit your area? If you sell your shavings, are you seeing higher returns, or are you thinking about charging more?

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