Wood is the best medium for furniture for so many reasons. But did you know it’s one of the most sustainable materials as well? We should never take nature for granted, but wood offers more opportunities to preserve the Earth’s trees and the atmosphere’s oxygen while producing beautiful and memorable pieces to decorate our homes. Here’s why wood furniture is more sustainable than most other materials used to build furniture.
You Can Grow More
Growing a tree is no small thing. The process to produce trees large enough to provide lumber-grade wood takes quite a while. But unlike metal, there really isn’t a finite number of common woods because you can always plant another tree for every single one you turn into furniture. Most wood used to produce lumber in the US and Europe come from plantation forests, which are more sustainable alternatives to clear-cutting natural forests. Incidentally, some woods, such as bamboo, grow at an extremely rapid rate and take even less time to mature than other, taller trees.
Wood is one of the loveliest, strongest, lightest, and most versatile materials available—and it’s also one of the longest lasting. An expertly built piece of handcrafted solid wood furniture will last a very long time and possibly become a cherished family heirloom. All that said, unlike so many things in our culture of disposability, wood furniture survives and doesn’t need to be replaced every few months or years. In some cases, and with proper treatment and cleaning, wood furniture can even last for centuries. Longer life means less stress on trees and the environment overall.
Wood Is Reusable
If your carpenter uses reclaimed wood—that is, wood rescued and reused from various sources—you’re practicing sustainability by reusing a tree chopped down long ago. Reclaimed wood is recovered from old buildings such as warehouses, factories, and barns as well as from old barrels, train cars, fences, various wood containers, and other sources. Due to years of weathering and service, reclaimed wood has a character and strength that newer-growth trees can’t match. Reclaimed wood can also give you access to rare or now-unavailable woods that can no longer be harvested.
Wood Is Cleanly Used and Disposed Of
One last reason why wood furniture is more sustainable is that, because it’s organic, it produces few- to no-waste products that are harmful to the environment. In fact, scrap generated during the construction of wood furniture can usually be put to other purposes. Sawdust and wood chips can be used in any number of other products or thrown away and left to degrade until the carbon composing the wood returns to the earth. And, of course, wood scraps can be burned to produce heat. Truly, wood has a friendlier relationship with the planet than most materials.