So why does eco-friendly woodwork matter? Every year we dispose of 10 million tonnes of wood in the UK. And we only recycle 1 million tonnes. This means the remaining 9 million tonnes end up in landfill. This was reported in a 2015 study called The Circular Revolution (PDF).
Giving wood a second chance
It’s often possible to transform waste wood into something new. This allows it to live on and continue to have a purpose. And this is my goal as an eco-friendly woodworker. I source most of my wood from places such as skips, recycling centres, building sites and back gardens. And I’ve found that there’s always a plentiful supply. As soon as one skip moves on, another one pops up. And the local recycling centres are always full of unwanted furniture which has the potential to become something attractive and useful.
Why is wood not recycled?
One of the main barriers to wood recycling is the presence of other materials such as metal and plastic. These can be difficult and expensive to remove. However here at Woodwork Matters I don’t discriminate. I welcome these strange, muddled pieces, which would certainly have ended up in landfill. And I endeavour to give them a new life and find them a happy home.
In addition, I am also looking for eco-friendly suppliers for my paints, varnishes, oils etc. There are brands out there who create these using naturally occurring raw materials. So they are plastic free, emmission free and have compostable residue. I also want to know exactly what ingredients go into these products, and I want it all delivered in recyclable packaging. I’m currently testing a few options so watch this space!
Upcycle, repair, reuse
I’m hoping that my woodworking projects will inspire others to think twice before discarding their old furniture or scraps of wood. And instead explore the possibility of transforming it into something new. Now that would be very cool.
I commit to donating 5% of all sales to Friends of the Earth. Together we can help them to protect the natural world and the wellbeing of everyone in it.
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