We don’t have to wait until April 22nd to celebrate Earth. Every day, we can reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Plastic is an amazing, lightweight material that can be made into all sorts of things. But when we use plastic items once and then throw them out, we create a huge amount of waste. People create about 2.6 trillion pounds of garbage each year. That’s heavier than 225 million adult elephants. In the United States, we throw away 250 million tons of garbage every year. That’s enough garbage to cover the state of Texas entirely with trash—twice. On average, each person in the United States makes 4.5 pounds of trash each a day.
Each of us can make a difference by using good judgement when we buy and discards things.
- When we reduce, reuse, and recycle, we:
- Save natural resources
- Save space in our landfills
- Save energy
- Reduce pollution
- Save money
Using reclaimed wood is a very sustainable approach. Old wood, such as barn board can be re-finished and cut to make new wood flooring, kitchen cabinets, or cladding.
You could also choose to use recovered wood from trees that have been cut down for other purposes; for example, clearing forest for building land. In this case, you can achieve perfect consistency in your finished product while knowing that the wood you’re using would otherwise have gone to waste.
Of course, both the options above are likely to be limited and harder to find than wood that comes from trees specifically harvested for that purpose. The next best option is to look for wood that is guaranteed to be sustainably sourced, and ideally, is sourced locally. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) both have certification schemes for wood from sustainably managed forests.