Despite the wide range of materials available for implementing interior design ideas today, including metal, plastic and ceramic finishes, the popularity of wood remains at the top of the list for many people. Wood is a naturally occurring resource that has the capacity to undergo many different treatments and finishes, rendering it one of the most valued and valuable products for the home. Alongside this fact, however, people increasingly have concerns about the environment, and like many others you may want to ensure that the resources you use are planet-friendly as well as affordable. Here’s a quick guide to what to look out for when you want to use sustainable wood in your plans for furnishing your property:
Contemporary views about the environment have grown stronger as more and more people acknowledge the importance of ensuring that we treat the world well, rather than simply continuing to deplete its natural resources. Human impact on the planet, and especially on natural geographical areas, needs to be minimized, and for this reason many industries that traditionally have used significant amounts of timber, such as the building trades and furniture manufacturers, are now seeking out sources of sustainable wood in order to boost their eco credentials. From eco-friendly window shutters to wood furniture certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), you can find great sustainable timber schemes and initiatives all around the world.
During the last 20 years, for example, methods to harvest sustainable materials have changed and developed. Besides globally accepted FSC wood products, you can look out for schemes favored by other organizations, such as the Rainforest Alliance (SmartWood label), Green Seal (label of the same name) and Scientific Certification Systems (SCS).
Sometimes called “rediscovered wood”, reclaimed or recycled wood generally comes from old and derelict structures or logs left over from logging drives that were often undertaken during colonial times. Many of these logs are “rescued” from landfill sites, old orchard trees or the bottoms of lakes and rivers. Today’s technology means they can be completely restored and repurposed, thereby saving trees and contributing to the nurture of tender forest environments.
Technically, bamboo is a grass, not a tree, however, both the size it can grow to and its sheer versatility have made it a favorite with some environmentally conscious builders and designers. You need to bear in mind that not all bamboo is grown without pesticides and other substances (although most sourced in China is free from chemicals) and also that bamboo products are generally assembled using glue, which may contain formaldehyde, so it pays to ask lots of questions if you’re considering this option.
Briefly, if you follow these guidelines and avoid hardwoods from tropical sources, such as teak and mahogany, western cedars, Douglas fir and redwood, you should be able to source your favorite wooden home décor items and furniture, knowing that you are contributing to a more sustainable global environment.