In the past, whenever trees were brought down or completely destroyed by heavy winds and storms, or even by some type of disease which ravaged whole stands of trees, those trees had to be discarded in landfills or ground up to be burned. However, a family-run sawmill in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada is showing the way for such trees to be recycled and repurposed, so they don’t go to waste.
While the business name of this facility is actually Sawmill Sid’s, it’s owner Sidney Gendron refers to it as a Tree and Wood Recovery Center. Whenever his family-run business receives in damaged or diseased trees, they are converted into useful materials for housing and construction, furniture, and sometimes even art pieces. The Sawmill Sid’s business is just one example of a whole new industry which is springing up, to reduce the amount of materials dumped in landfills by recycling them into highly desirable commercial products. This industry has a definite conservation element to it, fully intending to reduce the planet’s carbon footprint, while making maximum use of renewable resources like trees.
Aftermath of the storm
Whenever storms with high winds strike areas within trucking distance of Sawmill Sid’, trucks full of damaged trees are brought into the sawmill for re-purposing, and the number of trees damaged by such weather events can be in the thousands. When Mother Nature isn’t providing damaged wood for recycling, donations come into the sawmill from nearby cities, or from private companies who want to discard their used wood products. Already a thriving market has developed for the recycled wood produced at Sawmill Sid’s, including artisans, craftsmen, restaurateurs, developers, and renovators, many of whom want to do their part for conservation, and all of whom simply want to take advantage of products which are useful to their businesses.
Avoiding the landfill
As Sidney Gendron is well aware, it’s crucial that as much discarded wood as possible is spared from nearby landfills, or chopped up into wood chips, because these outcomes will end up releasing additional carbon dioxide into Earth’s atmosphere, and adding to the greenhouse effect. In a single year, the re-purposed wood from Gendron’s recovery center prevented more than 7,000 tons of carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere, by capturing those potential emissions in re-purposed wood products.
Wood recycling in the future
Gendron and his whole family firmly believes that the future of wood recycling is extremely bright, especially since relatively few people are currently aware of the potential for re-purposing damaged trees. In another part of Canada, the Canadian Wood Waste Recycling Business Group, headquartered in Alberta, is spearheading a drive to make government groups aware of the potential for wood recycling.
The aim of his group and other similar groups is to increase awareness of government officials, all the way down to individual citizens, about the value of recycling wood products. While it has been slow going at the outset, advocates for recycling wood fully expect that once the message gets out, people around the globe will have the same kind of interest in recycling wood as they do for materials such as plastic, bottles, and others.
Nature’s Packaging is committed to the reuse and recyclability of wood products, especially wood packaging. More than 95% of wood pallets are recovered from landfills and recycled into garden mulch, animal bedding, and other creative uses.
The ‘BestInAU’ website routinely scours the Internet to find the best deals, the best articles, and the most useful information for its Australian audience, and recently it carried an article in praise of wooden containers for storage, packaging, and delivery. Information in that article has relevance to people all around the globe, since the benefits of wood packaging are applicable to virtually everyone in every location of the world. Here are some of the most important reasons that wood is considered to be such a versatile and effective container for packaging and containing goods.
Wooden crates are perfect for moving a large quantity of goods, since they retain their shape and their integrity of structure even under pressure from within and from without. This can be essential for businesses wishing to keep their goods safe during transportation, and during storage time. When compared to materials such as cardboard, it’s easy to see the durability advantage offered by wood packaging.
Wooden crates are very affordable when brand-new, but they are even more affordable when purchased second-hand and reused. While other materials may be initially cheaper, the fact of wood’s re-usability makes it a better bargain and a more cost-effective choice for storing and packaging.
Speaking of being reusable, the fact that they are so well constructed makes wooden crates highly reusable, almost literally until they fall apart. When your wooden crates do begin to show signs of wear and tear, they can be deconstructed and rebuilt into brand-new wooden crates.
When packaging with wooden crates, you don’t have to worry about corrosion, because wood provides a very effective barrier against dirt, dust, moisture, and many other kinds of debris which might degrade your products in some other container.
When space is at a premium, it’s very helpful to be able to stack your wooden crates vertically, so as to save floor space and warehouse space. This also makes them highly transportable, and can make it more cost-efficient to send stacks of wooden crates holding your goods.
When you’re done using your wooden crates for packaging, they can also be used for a number of other projects as well. They can easily be converted into simple chairs, shelving, or tables for instance, so they can be used all around the home.
If you need wooden crates in a special size or shape, it’s fairly easy to find a vendor who can accommodate your wishes. If you anticipate using wooden crates around the household, there are any number of wood-working specialists who are capable of making high-quality wooden creations, according to your specifications.
There aren’t too many materials which are more eco-friendly than wood, and it’s a packaging material that excels in being reusable and renewable. Provided you obtain your wooden crates from a maker who uses sustainable sources, you can ensure that your wooden packages are recycled after their period of usage, to complete the cycle of renewability.
Nature’s Packaging is committed to the sustainability and recyclability of the wood packaging industry. Recent studies show that 95% of wood packaging materials are recycled and diverted from landfills. When forests are sustainability managed they sequester carbon from the atmosphere to help fight climate change and the wood packaging industry is doing its part to make sure that no lumber harvested from trees goes to waste.
A recent survey conducted by researchers at Virginia Tech University, in collaboration with the National Wood Pallet and Container Association, and the US Forestry Service, has discovered that approximately 95% of all wooden pallets avoid entering landfills, and are instead either resold, repaired for ongoing usage, or pulverized into useful mulch.
This same type of study was conducted in 1998, and the comparison of numbers between the two studies is startling. Factors such as an increased awareness of environmental concerns, overcrowded landfills and disposal areas, and an increasing desire to manage waste more efficiently has apparently led to the dramatic results. The number of wood pallets which are now entering landfills has dropped by an astonishing 86% in the 20 years since the same survey was last conducted.
Recycling takes place both at companies which make use of them for storage and packaging, as well as at landfills and disposal areas where many of the wood pallets eventually find their way. Recycling centers at both types of facilities have workers who routinely inspect received wooden pallets, and have them sorted by what kind of shape they’re in. Those which are still in good shape and suitable for re-purposing after repairs, are sold at a very affordable price to companies which can still make use of them. Those pallets which have really outlived their useful life, and can no longer be effective as storage containers, are usually ground up into wood chips, for eventual use in gardens around the country as mulch.
In 1998 when the survey was last conducted, only about 33% of such facilities had their own recycling functions, but this latest survey has discovered that 62% of the same facilities now perform on-site recycling to extend re-usability. Whereas the total count of wooden pallets reaching landfills in 1998 was approximately 180 million, that figure has now dropped to a little over 25 million, which is an incredible decrease in a mere 20 years.
Recycling is good for everyone
Part of the reason for this enormous increase in recycling and re-usability is that it has become extremely easy for industrial sites to participate in recycling. Pallet recycling companies who deal routinely with wooden pallets will even make regular trips directly to industrial sites for the purpose of retrieving used wooden pallets and crates. Both parties benefit, since industrial companies are paid for their used wooden crates and pallets, and the recycling companies are then able to resell or refurbish crates for resale, so they can also make a profit. Any of the crates or pallets which don’t pass muster are simply fed into a wood chipper, and re-purposed as biofuel, mulch or bedding for animals.
Nature’s Packaging is committed to wood pallet recyclability and sustainability because recycling wood pallets is good for the environment. Our carbon calculator, based on scientific models used by the Environmental Protection Agency, proves this fact; for every 100 wood pallets recycled has the same environmental impact as taking 10 cars off the road.