5 Products Made From Trees to Stop Buying Now

The more products we consume that come from the world’s forests, the more trees that need to be cut down to meet the demands of a consumer-driven world. While new trees can certainly be planted to grow in their place, the rate at which we’re cutting down our trees exceeds the rate at which new trees can grow and replace the ones that were cut down.

According to The World Counts, only 10 percent of the world’s rainforests may be left by the year 2030. As a result, as many as 28,000 wildlife species may be extinct in the next 25 years due to deforestation.

It’s up to all of us to become more conscious of what we consume so that we don’t mistakenly support companies that contribute to deforestation. Here are just five types of products to consider scaling back on or avoiding altogether.

1. Paper products like books, stationery, envelopes, notepads, folders, notepads and printer paper.

If it’s made of paper, then it came from a tree. While it may be impossible to completely cut out paper products given that even product packaging is made from paper, there are at least some better alternatives. More companies are now offering “tree free” alternatives to their paper products, such as products made from post-consumer waste (a.k.a. recycled paper). Other materials to look for in tree-free paper product alternatives include hemp, bamboo, kenaf, organic cotton and agri-pulp.

2. Food and beauty products that contain palm oil.

As the most efficient vegetable oil source, the profitability of palm oil has contributed to immense deforestation in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. You’ll need to check the ingredients on any food or cosmetic you buy to look for signs of palm oil. Check out this list of all the common ingredient names used to describe palm oil, including food and cosmetic brands known to use palm oil in their products.

3. Food products that contain wood pulp.

In addition to being used to make paper products and textiles, wood pulp also goes by the name of cellulose, which is added to popular food products. It’s a cheap filler with no nutritional value that can typically be easily identified in the ingredients of any food product. You may want to have a look at these 15 food companies and a list of their products that contain cellulose so you’ll know to avoid them.

4. Furniture or other wood products made from over-harvested trees.

If you’ve got interior or exterior design on the mind, it can be tempting to look for products made of teak, walnut, mahogany and other over-harvested wood types. A more environmentally friendly approach would be to look for used furniture (such as from garage sales or antique shops) and take advantage of reclaimed wood in your woodworking projects (such as wood from demolished barns, wine barrels or shipping crates).

5. Chocolate and other cocoa products.

It’s a sad fact that cocoa farming has led to the vast deforestation of forested areas in West Africa. On the bright side, 12 of the world’s largest cocoa manufacturers including Mars, Nestle and Ferrero have recently all agreed to come up with a plan by this November to stop cocoa farmers from having to cut down so many trees. In the meantime, there are lots of places both online and offline that you can find ethically-sourced chocolate and cocoa products, which use cocoa that comes from outside West Africa and is almost always ethically grown.

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Photo Credit: Unsplash

68 comments

Christophe B

Many thanks. Great article.

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Ruth S
Ruth S27 days ago

Thanks, but I agree with Foteini .. all electronic is not a solution. Paper is better than plastic since it is bio-degradable!

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

thanks!!!

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FOTEINI c
FOTEINI chormpouabout a month ago

all electronic not solution!

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Freya H
Freya Habout a month ago

#1: I use my smart phone to take notes. Yes, I am aware of the ecological impact of batteries and the power to run it - but which requires more energy, using a smart phone or growing a tree, cutting it down, transporting it to the factory, making pulp and then paper, and transporting the product to a store? I recycle as much as possible and use scrap paper for notes.

#2 and #3: I meticulously read labels before I buy. If something contains a verboten ingredient, back on the shelf it goes.

#4: I have all the furniture I need right now. If I needed anything new, I would turn to Freecycle first, then to yard sales and thrift shops.

#5: I go out of my way to purchase ethical chocolate. It's more expensive, but that's motivation to consume it slowly.

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william M
william Millerabout a month ago

Thanks

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Leanne K
Leanne Kabout a month ago

Things are bad

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Payton Godon
Payton Godonabout a month ago

When it comes to chocolate or coffee, just look for sustainable brands. Buying sustainable promotes better farming in these countries and gives them insensitives to treat the forests and waterways better. Supply and demand people.

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Lindsay K
Lindsay Kabout a month ago

Thanks for sharing. I think we all need to be more careful in our use of these products, but I'm sure that a lot more could be done about management of trees so that not all trees in an area were logged, for example, and new saplings planted on a rotational basis. Sure it would cost money, but it would also be more sustainable and provide work, and, in some cases, leave wildlife habitats and tribal homes in place.

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Carl R
Carl Rabout a month ago

Thanks!!!!

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