Old wood is good wood
If you want to get some new furniture for your living room or kitchen and want some nice wooden pieces, then don’t just nip down to your local furniture store.
We all know that the world’s forests have been depleted at an astonishing rate. Currently one third of the planet’s land area is covered with forest – nearly 4 billlion hectares. But since agriculture began 11,000 years ago, the natural forests have been reduced by 40 per cent. Three quarters of this loss took place during the last two centuries, in order to clear land for farming and because of the demand for wood.
For the planet to function properly, we need forests. They stabilise soils and regulate the water cycle. Trees absorb and store carbon dioxide, and forests provide habitation for flora, fauna and wildlife.
During the 1990s, 8.9 million hectares of forest were lost every year. There is now extensive effort being made in reforestation (replanting of trees) but the planet still loses forests equivalent to the size of Panama every year.
So, although much furniture is now manufactured with wood taken from renewable sources, where for every tree felled another two are planted, it is still a greener choice to buy furniture made from reclaimed wood.
Reclaimed wood is old wood – that has already been used for floor boarding or joists in old houses, for example. Planed, sanded and re-varnished it can be used again to make any kind of wooden furniture. Pieces made from reclaimed wood have a different depth of tone and colour to those made from new wood, and are generally far more attractive.
Of course, not every item of furniture can be produced with reclaimed wood, it wouldn’t be a practical option. The frames on sofas, for example, are usually made from new wood. And reclaimed wood pieces are generally more expensive. But if you have the choice, and wish to make a contribution in favour of the planet, spend a little more on your coffee table or dining table, and enjoy the beauty of reclaimed wood.