When is wood more sustainable?
When it’s reclaimed! Reclaimed wood comes from a variety of sources, but they all have a common story, the original purpose that the lumber was intended for has come to an end. This means reclaimed wood is on its second or third life and continues to be an amazing sustainable resource. While wood is a sustainable choice, reclaimed wood adds a new dimension to the term.
Where does reclaimed wood come from?
It can come a variety of sources, including old warehouses, decommissioned factories, barns, and anywhere wood has been used in construction that has allowed the wood to retain its useful characteristics. This means that a species like American chestnut (Castanea dentata), which has been unharvestable for decades because of chestnut blight, a fungal infection unintentionally introduced into the United States in 1904. It also means that large, knot free pieces of wood can be used to make a variety of different products, like counters, flooring, tables, and wall paneling.
Reclaimed wood can meet the standard for credits in several certification programs under the recycled material criteria. Because it is on its second or third life, much of the material has already proven its longevity as a sustainable material.
David Jones, PhD is the Director of Project Services for Benchmark International. David is a distinguished academic in forestry and wood science who contributed immensely to his field during his tenure as an associate professor and extension specialist at Mississippi State University. Some of his most notable contributions to-date include a formal forest products outreach program for the state of Mississippi, co-authoring the only published introductory book to wood science and forest products, and the co-creation of a national program on wood efficiency education to help manufacturers improve productivity.