Wood and wood products are hugely popular – even necessary, some might say – there in the United States. After all, wood is an incredibly versatile material that can be used for the creation of many things, from the creation of paper products to high quality wood flooring. Here in the United States, wood flooring is particularly popular, so much so that more than half of those who are looking to buy a home in the near future have stated that they would actually pay a considerably higher price for a home that had wood flooring throughout – or even just in part of the home.
Of course, wood has many other applications as well. From wood tabletops to wood siding to various other types of rustic furniture, the use of wood is not only practical, but highly trendy at the current moment. However, the continuous use of new wood is far from ideal, especially at the rates that can be seen here in the United States.
In many ways, wood is over consumed, something that can be highly detrimental in the long run to forests not just here in the United States but all around the world as well. In fact, more than one fourth of the world (around 30%, to be a little bit more precise) is currently made up of forest land. While this is quite a significant amount of land now, this number is likely to decrease quite considerably if deforestation continues at the rate that it is today.
And while planting new trees is certainly quite important, it’s not really a good solution to combat the immense amount of trees that are currently being cut down. This is due to the fact that hardwood trees take a great deal of growing time before fully reaching maturity. In fact, it will typically be at least 40 years – and sometimes as many as 60 – before any given hardwood tree reaches maturity. Therefore, even if a new tree is planted for every one that is cut down, a huge amount of deforestation will still occur, something that can effect the nature ecosystems that are in place there, even wiping them out quite completely.
And here in the United States, as has been touched on above, levels of wood consumption are high – as are levels, unfortunately, of wood waste. In fact, as many as three trillion total board feet of lumber have been milled in the one hundred or so years (closer to 120 years now) since the year of 1900 alone, and many other types of wood have been processed as well. On construction sites, where wood is often a primary material used in the construction process, it is not uncommon for more than one fourth of all waste generated to be wood waste.
So what can we do to combat this problem? Repurposing wood waste is one great way to stop the need for as much new wood. Reclaimed wood products are already becoming more popular than ever before, with more than two and a half million tons of wood pallets recycled in the year of 2015 alone, a number that has truly only continued to grow in the years that have transpired since. In many ways, reclaimed wood products are even beginning to take the place of new wood products.
Take, for example, wood tabletops. Wood tabletops have many uses, from providing a dinner table for the typical family to even being used as wood tabletops for restaurants. There is no doubt about it that wood tabletops, an incredibly durable piece of furniture, are quite important here in the United States. However, the creation of your typical wood tabletops can involve an immense amount of wood – though this will also depend on the size of the wood tabletops in question. But simply switching to reclaimed wood for the creation of these wood tabletops can have a significant impact on the amount of new wood that is needed.
The same can be said for many other products, easily make from reclaimed wood.