by Steve Graham, Networx
Some define all-wood products as green because they are more natural than petroleum-based plastics. It’s not that simple. Buying environmentally unfriendly wood can accelerate global climate change, threaten watersheds and other resources and waste energy.
Sustain Healthy Forests
In general, choose fast-growth species instead of endangered, old-growth wood. But it’s not as simple as choosing pine over teak. It’s more important to know the source of your wood.
Forests sustain biodiversity, clean air and fresh water. They also slow global climate change by soaking up carbon dioxide. If properly managed, almost any type of forest can thrive and regenerate while also providing lumber, paper and other products. However, the same forests can also be clear-cut for some quick income and profitable alternative uses.
The Forest Stewardship Council logo is the best and easiest way to make sure your wood is from properly managed forests that are growing back as fast as they are being thinned. The respected group works in nearly 80 countries, certifying logging operations that maintain healthy forests and indigenous communities.
Build with Grass
Another option avoids wood altogether. Bamboo, which is technically a grass, has received plenty of attention as a sustainable, versatile and strong alternative to wood. It grows about four times as quickly as most softwood trees. However, it also must be sustainably sourced. The FSC doesn’t certify bamboo forests. Instead, visit the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan for more information on finding sustainably sourced bamboo.