It’s cheaper to cut the trees, load them on a ship to another country, have them cut/process the wood, and reimport it than it is to do any of that on site. Labor costs, environmental regulation.
That’s just sad.
It is. It’s not just wood. Steel industry, same. Anyone from Pittsburgh/Johnstown? Glass industry, same. I grew up in a (south Jersey) town that for about the 100 years prior to the 80’s was one of the number one glass producers in the world. In mid-century, chances were better than half that wherever you were in the world, if you were drinking Coca-Cola from a bottle, it came from that town. The main plant closed in the 80’s (in part due to plastics, but also in part for reasons above).
After that, it was mostly used for glass inspection and recycling. Now, check this out. A lot various glass was trucked into that plant, sorted, recycled, inspected, etc., trucked out to port (Delaware River/Bay), shipped to Latin America, glass product created, shipped back, and then distributed----- because it’s cheaper now than operating at the plant.
Add on top of this that the reason the industry even existed there was because of the vast deposits of fine, homogeneous quartz sand (perfect for making glass). Most of the sand plants have closed (environmental/unions), and those that are still open (US Silica, etc) mine the sand and ship it out of country. This, when there are dozens of (former) glass plants within a few 10’s of miles.
Of course there is some irony in that those ‘glass towns’ that had their industry driven out in part because of skyrocketing operating costs because of environmental regulations (to be replaced by plastics!), were ‘recycling’ glass all throughout the 19th and 20th centuries— and usually paying dollars/cents per pound of sorted glass (ie green, clear, brown, etc). I remember as a young kid driving with my grandfather every Saturday to ‘recycle the glass’.