A social enterprise in Hong Kong is giving dead trees a second life


Dead trees usually end up in landfills. But in Hong Kong they are led to a social enterprise that gives them a new life. The social enterprise is called HK Timberbank. The founder – Ricci Wong, told people that he had been collecting trees, removing the bark and cutting them into planks. Some arborists started to approach him about a dozen trees that had been cut down without a place to dispose of them. They did not want to waste the trees by sending them to landfills. Therefore they donated those trees to him. 
The enterprise opened after Typhoon Mangkut in 2018 uprooted tens of thousands of trees. Over 7,700 tons of trees ended up in landfills. Sending trees uprooted by Typhoon Mangkut was a big waste. When the enterprise started to recycle the trees, they realised that they are not in such a bad condition as expected. Most of the wood is usable than imagined. 
In 2020, the organisation recycled more than 300 tonnes of trees. They are processed and turned into art installations and furniture. It takes a long time to design and complete a piece of wood installation. The tree takes 50 to 100 years to grow. A tree contains a lot of water, therefore firstly it is dehydrated. To dry the tree, it is cut into pieces for the moisture to evaporate faster. After it dries, it becomes timber. After that, the timber is shaped, designed and the final work is produced. From a tree to a piece of artwork, it takes three to four months. 
About 380 tonnes of wood is sent to landfills in Hong Kong daily. The development can not be stopped. This enterprise is aiming to mitigate the negative impact of the development and transform it into something positive. Transformation is the foundation of their work. The products are simple and useful. They are using basic methods to make mainstream furniture. They are doing an incredible and meaningful job. 


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