So, you are thinking about things you can do to help the environment. You are diligent about recycling your newspapers, bottles, cans and plastic. You traded your gas-guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle; maybe even a hybrid. But there must be more you can do, right? Consider buying recycled furniture for your home or office.
Now, before you reject this notion, give it a little more thought. When we say “recycled furniture”, we are not referring to that old velour-covered recliner sitting at the curb in front of your neighbor’s house. Although you could nab that chair under cover of darkness and do your part to extend its useful life somewhere in your home (maybe the basement), that is not what we mean when we refer to recycled furniture.
Recycled furniture is product made from reclaimed or recycled wood. Some of the furniture made with this material is traditional in style, while other pieces are quite unique and innovative. In all cases, they make excellent use of existing material that would otherwise be scrapped or unused. The positive environmental impact of reusing this lumber is clear. In making functional or artistic use of reclaimed lumber by converting it into recycled furniture, untold thousands of acres of forest are spared. While there is excessive or unnecessary logging and worldwide concern over deforestation, making use (reuse) of a plentiful supply of quality “pre-harvested” lumber is a thoughtful and practical approach at environmental responsibility.
Recycled wood comes from numerous sources and is quite abundant. Enterprising and creative efforts are made at “harvesting” this material. This lumber is often found in:
– Old barns that are condemned or set to be torn down
– Homes or other vintage buildings targeted for deconstruction
– Waste or scrap from construction and demolition sites
– Rivers that carried the old-growth logs as far back as the 1700’s
Woods reclaimed for use include American Chestnut, White Oak, Heart Pine and Red Oak. The oldest of this lumber may have been harvested well over 300 years ago, and often having been cut from virgin forests, may have been as much as 600 years old when it was felled. Many of the species are now rare or even protected as they were victims of vast clear-cutting that occurred across America throughout the1700’s and 1800’s.
Hardwood logs that have been recovered from the bottom of old logging waterways have been uniquely preserved after a century or more under water. They are used for flooring, paneling or custom furniture. Lumber reclaimed from old construction can also be converted into beautiful stock for furniture, flooring or art. Some manufacturers using reclaimed wood intentionally keep imperfections such as warps, cracks, nail holes, and worm holes to capture the charm, warmth, and patina of the antique wood.
Recycled furniture, whether in the form of a new chair or a beautiful hardwood floor, carries with it the character and history of the material with which it is made. Each piece is unique and becomes an enduring example of your personal commitment to the protection of the environment and sustainability of the earth’s natural resources.