Thinking Green

Using Composite Building Materials Saves Trees

By: Danny Lipford

When you’re thinking green, it’s important to use our natural resources as efficiently as possible. What you may not realize is that sawing solid lumber from trees results in 37% waste. In contrast, turning trees into composite material—like oriented stand board, MDF, and hardboard—makes use of 95% of the tree.

This means that almost 1/3 fewer trees are needed to produce the same amount of building materials for your home. So while building with all natural wood can seem like a green choice, manufactured wood products may actually be more eco-friendly in the long run.

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It may be hard to believe, but over four million trees are planted every day in the U.S. and that reforests almost three million acres. I’m sure you’ve heard that people in the green movement are often called tree huggers because they want to discourage cutting any of the trees down, but the simple fact remains that harvesting lumber is always going to be taking place, so it’s important to improve the manufacturing process.

In solid lumber production, only 63% of a tree is used. But in composite lumber manufacturing, like MDF and hardboard, 95% is used, which means companies are cutting down fewer trees to make these wood products. Now this may not seem like very much, but it’s the small steps that can turn into giant strides when it comes to thinking green.



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