By Heather Stegner, Senior Director, Communications, American Wood Council
More and more people – from builders to homeowners – are interested in using green materials to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment. The Reuse Wood Directory at www.reusewood.org aims to make it easy to find reclaimed wood for your next project.
Not only does using reclaimed wood help reduce the environmental impact of buildings and take discarded wood out of landfills, but there is also a large opportunity being missed with the amount of materials available. For example, hardwood flooring and butcher block countertops may require minor repairs, such as nail pulling or refinishing, but can be reused in your project.
The choice of products used to build and renovate has a significant impact on the environment. When specifying any materials, it is important to consider their life cycle environmental impacts. Salvaging and reusing wood and wood-based products ultimately reduces waste, therefore lessening the impacts associated with extracting and processing resources. A considerable amount of wood used in construction (such as formwork and bracing), or in a demolition, can even be salvaged and reused.
Historically, there’s been a lack of awareness of the opportunities to recycle and reuse wood products. Reuse Wood was developed as a resource to educate builders, designers and consumers on the many specific opportunities to salvage, recycle and reuse wood products, in turn reducing waste. And, the website works both ways, serving to connect vendors and customers who are looking to either appropriately recycle their used wood products or sustainably source reclaimed materials for a project. For example, a building deconstruction team might use the website to identify and contact a nearby recycling vendor in order to responsibly dispose of its used wood products. Or, a builder hoping to find locally recycled wood for a feature wall can use the directory to find a specific wood products reuse dealer in their area.
Key features of the directory include:
• A comprehensive business directory of companies involved in recycling and reuse of wood products, accessible via both an interactive map and list format;
• Individual listing pages that detail contact information, location and available services for each business; and,
• A sustainable wood guide with useful information and articles detailing different wood products and the many opportunities for wood reuse or recycling.
The use of recycled materials is a great way to help reduce the carbon impact of the built environment and to meet ambitious green objectives.
The American Wood Council (AWC) and Canadian Wood Council (CWC) have partnered with Building Materials Reuse Association (BMRA) to develop an online North American directory outlining reuse and recycling options for wood and wood products.