Timber recycling or wood recycling is the process of tailoring timber which in the past has been disposed of into usable products. In the early 1990s when issues such as deforestation and climate change became understood, people were prompted to look for a more sustainable way of living.
The timber is sourced from old buildings, bridges and wharfs, and is carefully stripped out and put aside by demolishers. The demolishers then sell the salvaged timber to merchants who then re-mill the timber by manually scanning it with a metal detector, which allows the timber to be de-nailed and then it is cut to size. Once it is re-milled and sized, the timber is then used in the manufacture of furniture.
Timber suppliers and consumers looked towards obtaining a more maintainable timber source. Using recycled timber in the furniture industry is the most environmentally friendly form of production and off-cut pieces can be chipped down into wood chips and utilised in providing power to homes and power plants, with nothing going to waste.
The aim of purchasing recycled wood for use in the production of furniture is to force the demand for "green timber" down and benefit the environment. Greenpeace cites on their website that recycled timber is the most preferable source of timber to be used in production. The use of recycled timber has been important in both raising industry and consumer awareness towards deforestation and promoting timber mills to adopt more environmentally friendly practices.
Recycling one ton of wood can save 18,000,000 British Thermal Units (BTUs) of energy, To heat a 2,500 to 3,500 sq ft area you would need approximately 90,000 to 100,000 BTU/hr.
There are many environmental benefits to using recycled timbers in the production of furniture
● Sequestering Co2 - Timber forests and plantations contribute to reducing carbon emissions by drawing them from the atmosphere and producing oxygen. According to one source, a single tree can produce enough oxygen for up to four people.
● Reducing soil erosion - Timber plantations also help prevent soil erosion with the roots preventing the topsoil from washing and blowing away. Falling leaves decay and form compost which regenerates the surrounding soil.
● Sustainable forest management – These plantations are grown with the purpose of providing timber to be used in production and construction. Timbers harvested from these forests produce a high-quality product and are grown in a professional and ecologically viable way. Jobs are created in the sustainable planting and management of these plantations and produce strong and beautiful wood without destroying our natural growth forests.
● Healthier living environment – Timber produces a natural environment in our homes, producing relative humidity and breathing flexibility and does not need to be cleaned with harsh chemicals.
● Aesthetic benefits – Possessing furniture produced from old timbers brings a sense of history and bygone times into our homes; connecting the past to the present and enduring time into the future.