“Wood is naturally renewable, re-usable and recyclable”
Wood is naturally renewable, re-usable and recyclable. It can be used for a multitude of applications that have both environmental and economic advantages. Wood products offer a simple and natural way to reduce the CO2 emissions causing global warming. Substituting fossil carbon-intensive products would play a key role in helping the EU achieve its environmental and climate change targets.
Prolonging the life cycle of wood and optimising the use of wood to foster a resource efficient bio-based economy
The environmental benefits of using wood products go beyond construction. Wood products act as a carbon sink and increasing the proportion of wood materials in use will have a direct impact on reducing CO2 emissions. To maximise both the environmental and economic benefits arising from wood, efficient use has to be made of this valuable resource. Therefore the woodworking industry considers recycling an integral part of producing sustainable products.
The more often by-products and recycling products are used, the higher the cascade factor gets, which allows not only increasing the available amount of wood for material use, but also extends the effect of carbon storage in wood products.
Wood-based products contribute to the circular economy
In the Circular Economy the materials used in products should not be seen as inputs but as assets. All businesses need to step away from unsustainable models such as ‘creating – using ‐ disposing’ and think about ways to maximise the value of products over product lifecycles. Optimizing the entire lifecycle of materials and avoid the production of waste are two main elements of the European Circular Economy Strategy. The Circular Economy should encourage the use of naturally and renewable raw materials, products and designs for structures and interior applications which are more environmentally responsible and cost‐efficient to operate.
Wood products are an excellent environmental choice. They are naturally renewable, recyclable and they store significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Also, wood products require considerably much less energy for processing compared to other materials and at the end of the products’ life, these can be recycled and burned for the bio-energy production.
Comparative studies reveal that there is virtually no waste during the manufacture of wood products. By way of example, wood and sawmill residues can be converted into a broad range of wood-based products including pulp & paper, bio-composite materials, bio-plastics, textiles and carbon-neutral biofuels. Moreover, most woodworking manufacturing facilities use wood residues as a source of energy to run a significant portion of their operations and sometimes use it for the cogeneration of electricity avoiding the use of fossil fuels.