Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

This Brooklyn-based company is saving trees from the chipper and landfill daily.

Furniture manufacturing in the United States has struggled in the face of flooding imports -- most notably chronicled in the book, Factory Man by Beth Macy. But RE-CO BKLYN is leading a new kind of furniture and urban manufacturing trend. The Brooklyn company gives downed trees new life in the form of stylish furniture and slabs.

AAM: Where did the concept to create RE-CO come from?

Benton: The concept for our brand of urban lumber harvesting arose from the eco-conscious concerns of founding partners Roger Benton and Dan Richfield. By utilizing trees that have come down due to storm damage, real estate expansion, and residential removals, RE-CO is able to achieve the following goals: 

RE-CO Founders Roger Benton and Dan Richfield

  • Removing mass from the local waste-stream (green waste would otherwise be dumped at over-taxed landfills); and
  • Decreasing the demand for forest-sourced lumber (one cause of worldwide deforestation).

We also pride ourselves on being a part of NYC's community of small business manufacturing. Our clients are able to find value in small shops that use local materials and local craftsmen to create pieces of furniture that will last a lifetime.

AAM: What is the history of the company?

Benton: RE-CO BKLYN was started as a collaborative design exercise between local artisans using only reclaimed or salvaged materials. As woodworkers and furniture makers, harvesting urban trees brought down by storms was a natural progression for us. Demand for both our locally sourced lumber and our in house designed and produced furniture drove us to peruse this niche full time.

AAM: What's the most rewarding thing about manufacturing in America?

Benton: The most enjoyable aspect of what we do is watching the consumer mindset slowly evolve. More and more people are seeking out local makers who are turning out high quality products. We have grown alongside friends in the fashion, jewelry, and art fields and seen an explosion of small business makers thrive.

AAM: What's your favorite thing about RE-CO BKLYN?

Benton: I really enjoy the time investment our work requires. Our process can span years from the time a tree falls; to milling it into slabs; to air drying; to kiln drying; to designing a piece of furniture; to finding the right client for it; to actual delivery of the finished piece. Almost every piece we make is a little trip through time for us.