Altree wood chip and plastic panel substitute finds use in road signs
May 31, 2016 | 1:08 pm CDT
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - PJ Woodlands has expanded its marketing effort for Altree, a durable panel product developed with the USDA Forest Products Lab and used for several years as the substrate in rode signs in national forests and other USDA managed locations. 
Produced from wood chips and plastic bottles, the raw materials are macerated and made into a slurry, which is then rolled out on a forming press. PJ Woodlands made its product launch for Altree in February 2016 at One Million Cups an entrepreneur development showcase in Albuqurque 
In April, PJ Woodlands joined a U.S. delegation to Hannover Messe, the exhibition ground where Ligna takes place in Hannover, Germany, with 390 other U.S. businesses for an “Integrated Industry-Discover Solutions” expo.
Altree production, Facebook
Altree exhibited its wood-plastic composite sheeting product in the Industrial Supply Pavilion at the show.  
“We are proud to have some of America’s most innovative and forward-thinking green manufacturing, job-creating companies joining the U.S. delegation at this year’s fair,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, who attended.
Altree is PJ Woodlands' signature product, made from recycled wood fiber and recycled plastic. Developed in conjunction with the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory, it has been in research and development for over 20 years.  Altree was designed as an industrial-grade sheeting product and is being rolled out in the U.S. to replace aluminum roadway guide signs.  
"We are the first company in the world to develop and market an alternative substrate to aluminum roadway guide sign manufacturers,” says Tony Burger, CEO.
Altree is made from recycled plastic milk jugs and wood chips, known as “forest slash,” that would otherwise burned or left on the forest floor. Burger says Altree is a way to use non-commercial timber, while greatly reducing the number of catastrophic forest fires and the amount of plastic bound for landfills.
As a road sign, the Altree product is significantly cheaper and safer than aluminum, and has been designated as a bio-preferred  by the U.S. Federal Government. 
In 2010 Altree  was recognized as the Most Innovative Forest Product in the World. The executives of Altree are working with Albuquerque Economic Development, as well as vendors and strategic partners with the goal of building the first production factory in Albuquerque. Initial employment will be 14 to 20 full-time jobs and could climb to  80 or more within three to five years.

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About the author
Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.