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Cambium is building a recycled wood supply chain

The global demand for wood could grow by 54% between 2010 and 2050, according to a study by the World Resources Institute. While some building materials like steel get consistently recycled back into the supply chain, wood does not. Cambium hopes to fix that.

Cambium looks to build the supply chain that keeps wood from being wasted by connecting those with already-been-used wood to the businesses and folks that need it. Cambium co-founder and CEO Ben Christensen recently told TechCrunch’s Found podcast that only 5% to 10% of wood gets reused currently, with most ending up in landfills or turned into mulch.

“We’re building a better value chain where you can use local material, you can use salvaged material, and all of that is connected through our technology,” Christensen said. “So that’s what we do is we deliver carbon smart wood, locally salvaged wood, tracked on our technology, to large buyers to build buildings, to build furniture, to use any sort of thing that you use wood for. And we do that in a really efficient and cost-competitive way.”

Demand for more sustainable wood has been growing in recent years, Christensen said, but before Cambium there wasn’t a good system to find the recycled wood. Cambium fixes that and more, he said. The company goes to businesses with recycled wood to sell and shows them the demand for their products while also selling its software that helps with inventory management and point of sale to these suppliers.

Cambium also helps buyers get better visibility into where their wood is coming from and can further reduce their carbon footprint by selecting a local vendor, Christensen said.

“People like really, really want to buy this material, we’ve been really overwhelmed with demand there and that helps us get sourcing and volume onto the platform in order to go and meet that demand,” Christensen said.

Christensen added that the company has benefited from a generational shift too as construction companies and people in wood-related trades retire and the next generation of folks in those fields look to adopt technology and be more environmentally friendly.

Cambium was founded in 2019 and is based in Washington, D.C. The startup has raised more than $8.5 million in funding from VCs including The Alumni Fund, Gaingels and MaC Venture Capital, among others.

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