How Can Wood Be Recycled?

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Wood recycling helps conserve trees because by recycling old wood we reduce the need for new trees to be cut down and reduce waste. According to the Circle of Life organization the United States produces 50 million tons of wood waste every year, the equivalent to about 121 million cut trees. Recycling offers many ways to reduce these numbers and reused what we have already cut down.

Collecting

  • You can collect wood waste any setting, from the home to abandoned buildings and factories. A good way to start is to collect and reuse fallen branches and sticks from the backyard. Gather these by hand. When tearing down old buildings, remodeling, or looking for new furniture, you can save and refurbish old wood products such as shingles, flooring, and furniture pieces.

Wood Chipping

  • Wood chipping is one of the easiest and most popular ways to conserve wood and reduce waste. You can do this at home in the yard. Gather fallen sticks and limbs. Second, take the pile of wood and carefully feed it into a chipper (you can rent wood chippers from local home improvement stores), turning the wood into small chips. You can use these chips as mulch to prevent weeds and control erosion.

Repurposing

  • You can repurpose or reuse many wood products including wood flooring, siding, building materials and furniture. You can either refinish and reuse all of these materials, or overhaul them and make them into a completely different structure or piece of furniture. Reusing old wood adds character to a design because older wood was often processed into larger planks and has a different look from boards processed today.

Recycling Particleboard

  • Particleboard is a board made of pressed bits of wood held together with resin. Circle of Life states that since 1956 an Italian particleboard maker by the name of Mr. Mauro Saviola has been using a process of recycling old wood to make new, reusable particleboard in his factory in Italy. His process uses a chemical compound and heat to break down old planks of waste wood.

Paper Mill Wood Recycling

  • U.S. paper mills have been conserving trees and energy for the past 80 years, according to American Recycler. They use a process known in the industry as the Kraft process. This procedure uses nearly every part of the tree in the production of paper. Once bark is stripped from incoming logs, the bark is sent to a burner that produces nearly all the electricity needed for the plant's operations. The plant then uses both the fibers and lignin gathered after chemical digestion of wood chips to make paper. While heat and chemicals digest the wood into pulp, the factory uses the steam produced in this process to generate more of its own electricity. Virtually nothing is wasted in the production of paper.

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