As consumers become more educated about what they buy, sustainably-harvested products have gained a following, and sustainable wood products are no exception.
But how do we know we’re buying sustainable wood products? Third-party monitors such as the Forest Stewardship Council keep manufacturers and retailers honest.
The FSC, which is based in Germany, has developed a set of ten forest management principles that include maintaining the ecological functions and the integrity of forests, and observing the rights of indigenous people to manage their own lands. (Read more: FSC guidelines.)
Retailers such as The Home Depot follow sustainable wood guidelines. The home improvement chain says it’s the largest supplier of certified wood in the world.
The FSC certification process includes ongoing monitoring of forests to ensure that the properties are managed according to the FSC Principles of Responsible Forest Management.
Timber makes up a big part of the certified wood market. But other sustainable wood products include patio furniture and flooring materials.
Here’s a list of six sustainable wood products:
1. Deck furniture
EarthSource Forest Products, a San Francisco distributor and dealer of sustainable wood products, sells a collection of garden furniture that includes tables, folding chairs and lounges. The company’s Jazz collection is made of Machiche hardwood that’s certified by the FSC. (Read more: EarthSource Forest Products' online catalog listing)
EarthSource also sells flooring. The company stocks Machiche-wood flooring, also known as Caribbean black cherry, which it obtains from forests in Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. Other types of certified flooring include Ramone wood, or breadnut tree wood.
The materials will provide homeowners with hardwood floors that look exotic but are nonetheless sustainably harvested. (Read more: EarthSource flooring samples)
Woodhouse timber frame company focuses on the aesthetics of timber frame structures and sustainable building practices by using less wood, using less wood and creating a structure that lasts longer. To visit the company’s site and learn more: Woodhouse
According to Unique American Teak, teak is the ideal alternative to old-growth “irreplaceable American and Asian hardwoods.”
Among the teak products the company offers are planters that are perfect for the front porch, the window box or anywhere else you want to show off your plants. The Sarasota, Fla., company certifies that the planters are made from sustainable, renewable teak wood.
The planters are made with teak tongue and groove in the board and batten style. They include drainage holes so there’s no need for a liner. Read more: Unique American Teak planters
The company also manufactures a variety of cabinets, including units for the kitchen and for entertainment consoles. See some of the products: Unique American Teak's furniture
Beeken Parsons, which is based in Shelburne, Vt., makes a line of sustainable wood furniture that includes the Vermont Forest Furniture Arboreal Bed.
The Arboreal Bed is a post and beam piece that’s composed of a few, well-proportioned parts for increased sturdiness. The bed can be made of Maple, White Ash and Beech woods and is available in king, queen and twin sizes.
The company also makes chairs, tables and desks. To see the bed and other pieces of furniture, visit the company's website.
Tetra-Pak is considered a pioneer in the world of packaging, and it recently reaffirmed its commitment to responsible forestry principles. And considering the company’s reach, that commitment is no small thing.
Its packaging is used to bring milk, ice cream and soup to millions of consumers in England, Ireland, Brazil and Argentina. In 2009, the company manufactured more than 2.3 billion FSC-labeled Tetra Pak cartons.
To learn more about Tetra Pak and its packaging, visit the company's website.
Know about other sustainable wood products? Please leave us a note in the comments below.