One of the most effective ways to reduce a carbon footprint is to reduce the waste created on any job. However, some waste is unavoidable in woodworking. As a result, more manufacturers and end-users are finding creative ways to recycle their wood waste.
While Timber Products Company strives to have little to no wood waste during our manufacturing processes, we loved these other creative ways it is finding new life:
University of Wisconsin–Madison materials engineers have developed a method that converts footsteps into usable electricity. The key to this remarkable transformation is something already common in flooring—wood pulp. When researchers chemically treated certain nanofibers, they found that they could generate an electrical charge in the flooring that produces enough electricity to power lights. The researchers say this “roadside energy harvesting” could be easily, and cheaply, incorporated into all types of flooring.
Debris as Energy
Until we can power the world with our footsteps, there are biomass plants powering the world with wood waste. Greenleaf Power LLD, a privately held company dedicated to acquiring and operating biomass plants, has five locations in California that collect and burn wood castoffs such as tree trimmings, agricultural waste and clean construction and demolition debris to create power.
Take to the Skies
In 2016, Alaska Airlines tested a cross-country flight powered by a blend of traditional jet fuel and wood biofuel. The flight used a biofuel derived from the stumps and branches left over from timber harvests. The Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance and Colorado biofuel company, Gevo, worked together to develop the jet fuel. In addition to being free of common pollutants, the highly-tailored jet fuel provided 2% more energy than traditional fuels—meaning that the test flight flew more miles on a single gallon of fuel than standard flights.
A Melding of Mediums
The building industry has known the strength of wood for generations, but now composites manufacturers are looking to wood fiber to strengthen certain plastics. Researchers with Oregon State University and the University of Southern Mississippi have explored the potential for reinforcing plastic materials with natural wood fibers. One goal of the research is to develop composite materials that could biodegrade at the end of their service life without harm to the environment.
How Mulch Wood You Use?
One of the most popular ways to reuse wood is as mulch. Not only is it sustainable for your company, but woodchip-based mulch truly gives back to the environment by helping to keep moisture in the soil, reduce weeds, and keep the dirt cool—all of which can help plants.
These five solutions are just a few of the many ways wood waste is creatively implemented into everyday life. Timber Products Company values sustainability; from our forest practices to our green products, discover how we run a sustainable business by visiting our website.