Sourcing Wood Sustainably: A Brief Breakdown

Sourcing Wood Sustainably: A Brief Breakdown

Arbor day came and went, considerably a holiday often overlooked. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t even aware of its prevalence until a few years ago, not knowing what the significance even was.

Proposed in January of 1872, and later passed as a national holiday in 1885, Arbor Day originated in Nebraska, where there happened to be a significant lack of trees to begin with. In efforts to increase the availability of resources and spread awareness of the importance of trees in general, J. Sterling Morton pushed for there to be a holiday in accordance with emphasizing the significance of trees (Arbor Day Foundation). 

We love the intentions with this holiday, but as a company supplying pre-existing furniture and one that values sourcing secondhand, we thought it necessary to touch on ethical sourcing of wood products.

According to woodconsumption.org, nearly 25% of all office furniture is made from wood, and 60% of home furniture sourced from wood. The United States imports nearly $6 billion worth of household wood furniture each year. 

With this mass drive of wood products flowing into and throughout the United States, and in and out of office buildings and homes, it is so incredibly important to understand ethical and sustainable sourcing of these products.

Risks of Operation

When wood and lumber products are sourced, there is extremely high risk of deforestation, which decimates the naturally occurring ecosystem and its wildlife. All naturally functioning operations within that ecosystem collapse, which is not only incredibly harmful to the animals and plants that occupy that space, but threaten the maintenance of carbon emission levels and the atmosphere. 

Maintaining Sustainability

Wood from trees has been used to construct some of the most beautiful furniture pieces, buildings, flooring, and much more. But is there a way, considering the deforestation that occurs in sourcing wood products, that wood can be sourced ethically and sustainably?

The good news is that the answer to this question is yes

Let’s get specific, though: what does sustainably sourcing look like?

It refers to harvesting wood in a way that is cognizant and mindful of the systems that exist and function to support the ecosystems in place. In other words, the wood is sourced in a fashion that preserves its natural environment, such as harvesting from managed forests. 

A managed forest looks like maintaining the forests’ ability to continue its growth. For example, being sure to plant another tree once one is cut down. A managed forest is also mindful of the energy usage taken in when operating the tools used to cut down trees. Keeping the carbon footprint as low as possible when sourcing wood is just as important a part in maintaining the forests’s ecosystem and allowing it to thrive.

Doing Our Part

But how do we, as the consumers of wood furniture, whether in residential or commercial spaces, maintain environmental friendliness if we’re not the ones going out and cutting down the trees personally? 

The answer is simple: always consider pre-existing materials first before buying new. When you’re done with the furniture and are ready to swap it out for something updated, look into offering it second-hand as opposed to leaving it to the landfill. 

Sourcing pre-existing materials doesn’t always have to look like buying the piece in its entirety. More specifically, using recycled wood fibers to source paper, cardboard, or other packaging materials is a fantastic way to eliminate waste in the lumber world (From the Forest)

After all, there is an entire platform made for buying and selling used office furniture (that’s us, by the way).