Eco-Living Magazine

The Truth About Wood

Posted on the 23 October 2011 by T_mackinnon @tedmackinnon

If you are conscientiously trying to make eco-friendly decisions in you home then always make sure you do your research properly. There are some choices which seem obvious but on further inspection become more complicated; wood is a prime example.

oak 2 The Truth About Wood
Many people believe that selecting an environmentally sound wood for home furnishings or building is merely a case of avoiding certain species. Mainstream news reports of the hazards of trading with countries producing wood such as teak and mahogany are correct in that trade with places like Burma and Brazil can often inadvertently mean you are funding illegal operations. The key to responsible purchasing is not the type of wood or even the country of origin but whether it is being ethically and legally produced.

Any wood which you purchase for hardwood flooring or similar household use needs to carry a seal of approval from the FSC [Forestry Stewardship Council], and this is the safest way to ensure that you can make your purchase with confidence. Even bamboo is not guaranteed to come from a reliable source, although it has recently been lauded as the most eco-friendly option. Source of origin is again important here but the FSC does not certify bamboo as technically it is a plant and not a tree. Quiz your supplier thoroughly before committing and make sure you are satisfied with their answers.

Engineered wood flooring may be an answer for some people. Using less natural resource to produce the board means that the impact is slightly reduced. Again, check for authentication of the original materials and shop wisely. Recycling is the ultimate eco-friendly way to use wood in your home however: reclaimed floorboards, re-fitted doors and even furniture made from church pews or old panelling. You can achieve a beautiful result at a fraction of the cost of new and be proud of your efforts to minimise environmental impact.

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