Wood Is a Sustainable Choice for Packaging and Shipping Materials

Welcome Nature’s Packaging readers, in this blog post we’re going to be talking about the importance of sustainability in our world today and how wood plays a crucial role in it. We’ll be reviewing the benefits of wood as a renewable resource, and why it’s a great choice for packaging and shipping materials.

Trees are one of the most important resources in the world, providing countless benefits to people and the environment. Not only do trees provide oxygen and help to regulate climate change, but they can also be harvested as a renewable resource.

Trees have a wide range of uses for humans, from providing food and fuel to being used in construction and packaging among other things. Furthermore, trees are capable of regenerating themselves when properly managed, making them an excellent resource that is both sustainable and environmentally friendly.

So, what is a renewable resource? Well, a renewable resource is a resource that can be replenished or regenerated over time. Examples of renewable resources that are being utilized today include solar energy, wind energy, and, of course, wood.

One of the main advantages of wood as a renewable resource is that it can be replanted and regrown. In fact, in the United States alone, more than 1.9 billion trees are replanted every year. Trees are a renewable resource because they can be harvested and then replanted, making it a sustainable choice for packaging and shipping materials.

Unlike non-renewable resources like fossil fuels, wood is not a finite resource. It is a sustainable choice for packaging and shipping materials because it can be replenished, and when managed responsibly it can be re-used, and ultimately recycled.

Another advantage of wood as a sustainable choice for packaging and shipping materials is that wood is biodegradable. This means that it can break down naturally in the environment, unlike plastic or metal alternatives which can take hundreds of years to decompose.

Biodegradability is defined as the process of organic matter breaking down over time, until it is completely decomposed by microorganisms in its environment. The length of time for biodegradation of wood depends on several factors like the species of the wood, whether the material is left whole, or turned into chips by mulching.

Wood is also a cost-effective choice for packaging and shipping materials. Its cost-effectiveness, durability, and availability make it a popular choice among businesses and consumers alike.

As a natural material, wood has been used in packaging since ancient times due to its ability to protect goods during transportation. In the modern age, wood has been adapted to meet changing needs of consumers and businesses while remaining cost-effective, making it the ideal choice for supply chain and warehouse operations.

Wood is a renewable resource that can be replanted and regrown, making it a sustainable choice for packaging and shipping materials. It is biodegradable, cost-effective, and widely available. By choosing wood as a packaging and shipping material, companies can help reduce the environmental impact of supply chain operations and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Why Wood Pallets are the Best Choice for Supply Chain Sustainability

Wood pallets are the modern equivalent of the Swiss army knife in supply chain operations. Pallets function as protection, transportation, and storage unit for countless numbers of items that ship all over the world, every day. Their versatility in design and ease of construction is unmatched by any other piece of material handling equipment in the daily operations of logistics and shipping.

Beyond their functional ability, wood pallets are seen as a best choice for companies when they want to achieve sustainability measures in their supply chains. Wood pallets have a number of key factors that make them the best choice in this regard.

In this Nature’s Packaging series over the next few weeks, we’ll dive deeper and take a focused look at what makes the wood pallet such a great choice when it comes to sustainability goals.

Below are the 5 key factors that will be discussed in the upcoming blog posts here in NP. Feel free to incorporate these into your messaging and help your customers understand why wood pallets are the best choice to help them achieve their supply chain sustainability goals.

  1. Renewable resource: Wood is a renewable resource, meaning it can be replanted and regrown, making it a sustainable choice for packaging and shipping materials.
  2. Recyclable and biodegradable: Wood pallets can be recycled or broken down naturally, unlike plastic or metal alternatives. This reduces the environmental impact of the pallets at the end of their useful life.
  3. Durable and reusable: Wood pallets are durable and can be used multiple times, reducing the need for constant replacement, and minimizing waste.
  4. Cost-effective: Wood pallets are often less expensive than other materials, making them a cost-effective choice for businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact.
  5. Widely available: Wood pallets are widely available, making them easy to source and implement in supply chain operations.

Wood pallets offer a sustainable, cost-effective, and widely available solution for businesses looking to reduce their environmental impact and achieve their supply chain sustainability goals. Join us next week for a look at wood as a renewable resource. See you there.

The Wood Pallet Specification-A Quick Review

A wood pallet specification is a document that outlines the design, construction, and performance requirements for wooden pallets used in the transportation and storage of goods.

These specifications are critical for ensuring that pallets meet the necessary safety and performance standards, as well as facilitating efficient logistics and supply chain operations.

What are the key elements of a wood pallet specification?

  • The size and weight of the pallet, including both overall dimensions and the size of individual components such as deck boards and stringers.
  • The type of wood used in the construction of the pallet, including both the species and grade of wood.
  • The type of fasteners used to assemble the pallet, including both the size and material of the fasteners.
  • The load-bearing capacity of the pallet, including both the maximum weight and volume that the pallet can safely support.
  • The type of forklift and handling equipment that the pallet is designed for, as well as any special handling or storage requirements.

The type of protection required for the pallet, for example if it needs to be heat treated for export outside the country.

In addition to outlining these technical requirements, a wood pallet specification should also provide guidance on quality control, testing and inspection procedures, and any relevant safety and regulatory standards.

Why is a pallet specification useful for both the customer and supplier?

  1. It provides a clear and consistent set of standards for the design and construction of wooden pallets, which can improve safety and performance.
  2. It allows manufacturers and suppliers to understand and meet the specific needs of their customers. This can lead to more efficient logistics and supply chain operations.
  3. It also facilitates better communication between different parties involved in the supply chain including warehouse operators, transportation providers, and end-users.

The responsibility for creating a wood pallet specification typically falls on the manufacturer or supplier of the pallets. This can be done individually or collectively with industry associations, regulatory bodies, and other stakeholders.

A wood pallet specification should be updated regularly, as industry standards and regulations change over time, as well as keeping up with the new technology and advancements in the field. It is also important to consider updating it in response to any changes in customer or industry needs.

Wood pallet specifications are critical for ensuring the safety and performance of wooden pallets used in transportation and storage. They should include key elements such as size and weight, type of wood, fasteners, load-bearing capacity, handling equipment, and protection requirements. The manufacturer or supplier should create these specifications and update them regularly to ensure they meet the latest standards and customer needs.

Sustainable Forest Management and Wood Pallets

The wooden pallet and container industry has embraced sustainability as both a core practice within the operating processes of the industry, and as a key value add to our customers in helping them achieve their own sustainability goals in their supply chain.

As more and more companies in this industry utilize data to provide insight and tell a story about their commitment to sustainable practices; the knowledge, data, and practices have a trickle-down effect from the largest companies in the industry to the small mom and pop pallet yards that are the backbone of the industry.

As a whole, we realize that the benefits of sustainability go beyond merely integrating into our customer’s goals, data, and marketing. There is real potential to be a leading light in the reduction of emissions and the science of carbon sequestration.

These topics can have real financial consequences for our bottom lines that will have a profound effect on our industry. And rest assured, if it becomes clear that our business processes are fully in line with the economic benefits of carbon capture and carbon credits, then our industry will be transformed by investments from some very large companies.

The industry is now witnessing the effects of attention from investment groups that realized how critical the pallet industry is to the supply chain and have begun consolidating assets to gain an edge.

But let’s take a step away from industry affairs for a moment and focus on another aspect of sustainability and how it can affect our industry. Most of the time, we are focused on the “downstream” effect of our sustainable practices and the value added by them. In this particular Nature’s Packaging post, we want to look “upstream” at sustainable practices in a critical area of the forest and forest products realm that adds value to our industry.

Sustainable forest management has been covered by Nature’s Packaging in previous posts, so we won’t delve into it as it benefits a forest itself. In this NP post, we want to summarize how sustainable forest management benefits the wood pallet industry in particular.

As we move forward globally with initiatives designed to save and manage forest from a more ecological and holistic perspective, the ability to source raw materials will change. With that change will come a change in our core products, the wood pallet and container, as well. As an industry, we must be ready for changes in policy and regulation that will inevitably be a part of that process.

The benefits of sustainable forest management must be weighed against the ability for our industry to do business in a meaningful way and remain profitable.

To that end, let’s review some of the ways sustainable forest management benefits the wood pallet industry:

  1. Ensures a steady supply of wood:  Sustainable forest management practices aim to maintain or increase the health and productivity of forest ecosystems over the long term. This helps to ensure that there is a continuous supply of wood available for the wood pallet industry.
  2. Reduces costs:  Sustainably managed forests are typically more efficient and cost-effective to log than forests that are not managed sustainably. For example, selective logging practices, which involve removing only certain trees from a forest rather than clear-cutting the entire area, can help to reduce costs and minimize waste.
  3. Enhances the reputation of the industry:  Sustainably managed forests are generally seen as more environmentally friendly, and the wood pallet industry can benefit from this positive reputation. Using sustainably sourced wood can help to attract customers who are concerned about the environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.
  4. Protects against future risks:  Climate change and other environmental pressures pose significant risks to the wood pallet industry. Sustainably managed forests are more resilient to these risks, as they are better able to adapt to changing conditions and continue to provide a reliable source of wood.

These are succinct points that offer a broad perspective to you as a reader. Essentially, they address supply, costs, marketing, and the environment as it relates to the pallet industry. It is your challenge to contemplate the implications of each of these points and decide where (and when) your company, and the industry, need to focus.

Sustainable forest management offers a range of benefits for the wood pallet industry, how will you add those benefits and create value for your business and the industry?

The Philosophy of the Wood Pallet

Where would the world be without pallets? When it comes to pallet philosophy this is one of the key questions that we ask ourselves as we sit cross-legged on a small stack of pallets.

Not really, but it’s a great image to contemplate if you’ve met some of us.

The reality is that pallets have revolutionized the way we do commerce. The unit load and the pallet are the cellular organism of the system we call the supply chain and our role as an industry is to provide essential services to our customers.

Even a pandemic couldn’t stop the pallet industry from doing the important work of keeping the supply chain running in spite of such a black swan event.

When companies are looking for a sustainable solution that fits their business processes, the wood pallet is a key piece of the puzzle.

There are several reasons why wood pallets are often the preferred choice for shipping products through the supply chain:

  1. Durability: Wood pallets are durable and long lasting. This makes them a good choice for shipping heavy or bulky items that need support.
  2. Strength: Wood pallets are strong and able to support significant weights, making them suitable for a wide range of shipping needs.
  3. Versatility: Wood pallets are versatile and can be used for a variety of shipping applications, including air, sea, and ground transportation.
  4. Recyclability: Wood pallets are manufactured from renewable resources and can be recycled or repurposed when they reach the end of their useful life.
  5. Cost-effective: Wood pallets are generally more cost-effective than other materials, particularly when they are used for longer periods of time.
  6. Widely available: Wood pallets are widely available and easy to source, making them a convenient choice for many supply chain operations.
  7. Customization: Wood pallets can be easily customized to meet specific shipping needs, such as size, weight, or handling requirements.

Overall, wood pallets offer a combination of durability, strength, versatility, and cost-effectiveness that make them a popular choice for shipping products through the supply chain.

The wooden pallet and container industry is ready to step into the light as a resource for sustainable solutions. The industry is committed to being a part of the solution to climate change issues and having a positive impact on the environment. Our business processes are designed with the principles of reduce, re-use, and recycle as part of their daily operations.

Technology is changing the way the supply chain operates and what new insights are available. Pallets are one of the few platforms that travel from origin to destination in the chain, and are being tapped in new ways for their value through data, analytics, and novel KPI’s.

Our industry loves to build and experiment, and we are ready to integrate new technologies and test them in the supply chain.

2023 is going to be a great year for our industry and we at Nature’s Packaging truly believe that wood can change the world, one pallet at a time.

Wood pellet fuel

Wood Pellet Fuel – A Nature’s Packaging Review

Wood pellet fuel is a sustainable and renewable source of energy that has become increasingly popular in recent years. This biomass based fuel can be manufactured from many different types of forest products including compressed sawdust, wood chips, and other forms of organic matter.

Wood pellets are an alternative fuel source to traditional fossil fuels. Fossil fuels, like oil or coal, can require more work to be extracted from the ground. The pellets are also much easier to store than conventional sources due to their uniform shape and size, which allows them to be transported with greater ease. Additionally, wood pellets have a higher heat output than other bio-fuels, allowing for improved efficiency in burning.

Benefits of Wood Pellet Fuel

As an alternative energy source to other fuel types, wood pellets can be used to power boilers, furnaces, and stoves for both commercial and residential applications.

One major benefit of using wood pellet fuel is its high energy efficiency. Because pellets are manufactured as a denser form of biomass, they have a higher heat output than other current bio-based fuels and they can burn longer than other bio-fuel sources like wood chips.

This makes them ideal for providing long-term heating solutions in colder climates where temperatures drop below freezing regularly. The low moisture content also means they produce less smoke.

The Wood Pellet Production Process

The production process for wood pellets occurs in several stages:

  • harvesting
  • drying
  • grinding
  • compressing
  • packaging.

Harvesting begins with the gathering of wood residue and waste such as slash, sawdust or shavings from lumber mills, and recycled wood waste from pallets. This material is then dried to reduce moisture content before being ground into very small particles. After the particles are crushed and screened for size consistency, they are then compressed under high pressure into cylindrical shapes known as pellets which can easily be transported and stored without taking up too much space.

Types of Wood Pellets

There are several different types of wood pellets available on the market today, each with its own unique properties that make it ideal for a variety of applications.

A very common type are hardwood pellets, which are made from hardwood tree species such as oak and maple. These pellets offer more energy efficiency due to their high density and low moisture content.

Softwood pellets are also available, which are typically composed of softer tree species like pine or spruce. While they don’t burn quite as hot as hardwood pellets, they’re generally more affordable and better suited for use in residential settings.

Pallet waste residue is also capable of being converted into wood pellet fuel and a number of pallet businesses have set up operations to do just that.

Cost Considerations

Cost considerations are an important factor when it comes to deciding whether or not to switch to wood pellet fuel. Wood pellet fuel can offer many advantages, including cleaner burning and even cost savings over time. However, it is important to consider the initial costs associated with switching over before making the transition.

The first cost consideration is purchasing the pellets themselves. Industrial size bagging and sale of pellets is usually calculated by the ton and often falls between $250-350 per ton and depends heavily on the region where they are produced and the seasonality.

When considering wood pellets for home use, a pellet stove or insert for heating must be purchased upfront; these appliances range in price from several hundred dollars up depending on quality and size. Installation fees may also apply if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself.

The wood pellet bags themselves, which are most likely available in your local home store, can cost anywhere from $15-$30 per 40lbs bag, again depending on the region where they are produced and the seasonal weather.

Renewable Energy and Environmental Impact

Wood pellet fuel is becoming an increasingly popular form of renewable energy source, as it is reliable, clean-burning, and cost-effective. The production of wood pellets requires less energy than other forms of bio-fuel to manufacture; however, pellet fuel does come with its own set of issues regarding its environmental impact.

Burning wood for heat releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which contributes to global warming; however, when compared with burning fossil fuels such as coal or oil, wood pellets can produce fewer emissions overall. This is dependent on the equipment used to burn the material, among other factors.

Wood pellet fuel has proven to be an effective, clean-burning, and reliable source of renewable energy. With a wide range of advantages, such as being cost efficient, easier to transport and store than other fuels, it’s no wonder why the demand for wood pellet fuel is increasing. There are many factors that come into play when considering whether or not to use wood pellet fuel; however, its versatility makes it an attractive option for some businesses and homeowners.

 

The Forests of Gabon

Forest products play a crucial role in many countries and their available resources. In the African nation of Gabon, forest products are pointing the way forward in a country that finds itself winding down its oil production and needing to find alternate sources of investment and resources.

NP readers know that we at Nature’s Packaging support sustainably sourced wood from sustainably managed forests. Wood is a multifaceted medium that is utilized in everything from buildings (mass timber), to furniture, to the wooden pallet and crate.

The government of this small African nation understand that their forests are an opportunity to open new markets and create jobs for its citizens.

Join Nature’s Packaging as we take look how the country is working to balance its need for new revenue and to sustainably manage its abundant forest land.

The Eden of Africa

Known as the “Eden of Africa”, the nation of Gabon is rich with forestland (it covers about 90% of the country) and has one of the largest elephant herds in the world.  For decades though, it has relied on its oil production to fuel the economy. The oil producing sector has shielded the country’s economy from the larger fluctuations in Africa’s overall economic woes at various times in history.

However, as their calculated oil reserves begin to dwindle the government has turned to its forests to make the transition from oil as its main economic driver to a diversity of forest products. The challenge is to balance the need to extract these resources with the preservation of its precious forests and the climate change conditions happening around the world.

To maintain that balance, Gabonese officials have implemented strict rules regarding logging that keeps the majority trees standing and developing into old-growth timber. In fact, those strict rules limit logging to two trees per hectare every 25 years. Additionally, to combat illegal logging they have developed a program to track logs via bar code markings.

In the past, Gabon exported the majority of its raw timber product to other countries for them to finish. That has changed through government legislation that forbid selling the raw materials directly to other countries (France was a big customer). Now, the government is working to create industrial economic zones that provide tax breaks and other incentives to have businesses build factories and facilities that provide finished forest products right on their own. These include:

  • Furniture
  • Plywood products
  • Veneers from exotic tree species

To assess the interior forestland and track toward sustainable management of such a large area, Gabon officials built a satellite research station to track and create a database of the areas most degraded from industrial activity. This has led directly to a decline in illegal logging and deforestation overall. Some of the areas that were degraded previously were then re-purposed to more industrial agriculture services like palm oil.

This conservation and active sustainable management has led to a boom in the elephant population as well. In the 1990’s, the elephant population in Gabon numbered around 60,000. Now the population has grown to over 95,000. It is said that elephants are a sign of a thriving forest and certainly the elephants in Gabon are thriving.

Gabon and Forest Products

Gabon’s booming veneer business has made it the largest producer of exotic veneers in Africa. Their rich resource of exotic woods has made them a much sought after medium for crafting fine furniture and wood materials. And they are actively developing plywood manufacturing sectors through the grant of special economic zones that are located strategically close to resources and populations in need of employment.

The timber industry in Gabon is responsible for more than 30,000 jobs and this number is projected to increase as workers in the oil and gas sectors transition to forest based jobs. That 30,000 already represents about 7% of their total available workforce.

Gabon and Carbon

As the second largest reservoir of carbon sequestered through forestland (the Amazon is the largest), the burgeoning worldwide carbon credit market has created new opportunities for Gabon to utilize the natural carbon sequestration of its forest for profit in the CC market. It has sought and received carbon offset certifications from independent auditors.

Though this has not come without controversy as Gabonese officials chose to re-evaluate their credit calculation method and have since quadrupled their available carbon credits into the tens of millions of dollars. The concern is the market being flooded with these credits and thus driving down prices overall and the veracity of the credits themselves. Government officials have pointed to the initiative as a model for using new markets to fund the conservation of their forestland.

While Gabon’s story around forest products as a resource continues to play out over time. The model that they have provided to other African nations has prompted other to develop the same type of resources where available. However, the challenge becomes whether or not these other nations will adhere to principles of sustainable management of forestland and the need for economic opportunity. Time will tell.

What is Mass Timber?

The term “mass timber” (short for “massive timber”) refers to a range of engineered wood products that are being used primarily in construction projects. These products are made from smaller pieces of lumber that are glued or laminated together to form larger panels or beams.

Mass timber products are becoming increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional construction materials like concrete and steel. Their popularity is growing rapidly as more architects and builders become aware of mass timber’s many advantages, and we are only just beginning to scratch the surface of its potential.

Mass timber is an innovative and highly versatile new material for construction. Mass timber products are strong and durable, yet lightweight and easy to work with, making them ideal for use in tall buildings where weight is a major concern. Believe it or not, mass timber also has excellent fire resistance properties They also have a lower carbon footprint than other construction materials, making them a great option for sustainable building practices.

Types of Mass Timber

There are many different types of mass timber products available on the market. Mass timber is an inclusive term that includes materials like glue-laminated (glulam) beams, laminated veneer lumber (LVL), nail-laminated timber (NLT), and dowel-laminated timber (DLT).

But the most common and most familiar form of mass timber, the one that has opened up the newest architectural possibilities, is cross-laminated timber (CLT). In CLT, the wood is composed of layers of lumber perpendicular to each other, glued together with a high-strength resin. CLT offers the same strength as steel or concrete, and, because it is made of wood, it is a renewable resource.

What are the Benefits of Mass Timber?

There are several benefits to mass timber construction, including its potential to help address climate change. Mass timber products are made from wood, a renewable resource, and can store carbon for the life of the product. When used in construction, mass timber can help reduce a building’s carbon footprint.

In addition, mass timber construction is efficient and can be completed quickly. Prefabricated structures and components are popular building methods for construction in both public and private sector projects. They’re also becoming increasingly popular for residential buildings and custom homes.

The benefits of mass timber construction make it an appealing option for both new construction and retrofits. As architects and construction professionals look for inventive new ways to address climate change, mass timber presents an exciting solution that can help them build more sustainable structures.

How is Mass Timber Being Used Today?

Today, mass timber is being used in a variety of ways. One way is in the construction of skyscrapers. Mass timber is well-suited for tall building construction because it is strong and lightweight. As mentioned, mass timber can be used to create prefabricated panels which can be rapidly assembled on-site. This helps to speed up the construction process and reduce costs.

Another way that mass timber is being used today is in the creation of furniture. Mass timber furniture is often made from cross-laminated lumber, which is strong and durable. This type of furniture can be found in both homes and businesses. It is becoming increasingly popular due to its unique appearance and environmental friendliness.

Finally, mass timber is being incorporated in some unlikely industries, like the automotive industry. Mass timber can be used to create structural components that are strong yet lightweight (long live the “Woody”).

Mass timber structures are also being used in the construction of bridges and other large public works. Mass timber bridges have a long life expectancy and are less expensive to maintain than traditional concrete or steel structures.

The Future of Mass Timber

As the world looks for more sustainable building materials, mass timber is an increasingly popular option. This makes it ideal for construction projects that require height, such as office buildings and apartment complexes.

While mass timber is not yet as widely used as concrete or steel, it is growing in popularity due to its many benefits. Mass timber is recyclable, meaning it can be replaced more quickly than non-recyclable construction materials like concrete. It is also lighter than many traditional construction materials, making it easier and cheaper to transport. In addition, mass timber sequesters carbon dioxide which keeps it from entering the atmosphere, thus helping to combat climate change.

The use of mass timber has been increasing in popularity in recent years as a more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional construction materials. While mass timber still has some drawbacks, such as its higher cost and the need for specialized equipment and training, its many benefits make it a promising option for the future of construction. The future of mass timber looks bright as more and more architects and engineers look for ways to incorporate this innovative material into their projects.

 

Hardwood or Softwood: What’s the Difference?

Of the many forest products used by consumers every day, wood in the form of lumber is the most recognizable. The lumber that we use to build homes or make furniture is produced from softwood or hardwood trees.

The differences between the two types of trees seem obvious from their names, but the actual differences are much more compelling. Interestingly, one basic fact is that “hard” wood and “soft” wood is really based on the botanical properties of a tree rather than the objective hardness of the wood.

Both hardwood and softwood are integral to global industry and infrastructure.

What is a Hardwood Tree?

Angiosperm trees produce what we know as hardwood. Angiosperms are flowering trees with enclosed seeds. The enclosure is often a fruit or nut.

They are usually deciduous, dropping their leaves in the autumn, sometimes with a vibrant display of color. Hardwood trees have broad leaves with fine veins.

Angiosperms grow slowly, which makes their wood dense and heavy. They have a tubular cell structure with pores that produce prominent grain patterns. They are found in tropical and temperate forests all over the world.

Common angiosperm hardwood trees include oak, maple, and walnut.

What is a Softwood Tree?

Softwood comes from gymnosperm trees, which, unlike angiosperms, do not flower. Softwood trees are usually conifers like pine, cedar, and spruce. Their seeds are not enclosed and they’re often in the form of a cone.

Because gymnosperm seeds do not have a fruit or nut enclosure, they spread more easily and in a wider area than angiosperms. Softwood trees also grow faster, have a simpler cell structure, and produce sap.

Gymnosperm leaves are needle-shaped and do not drop seasonally. They’re commonly called evergreen trees. Approximately 80% of timber comes from these softwood trees. The most common group of softwood trees, conifers, is also those most valued for its lumber. Conifers grow all over the world but are especially abundant in cooler climates and higher altitudes.

Do Hardwood and Softwood Trees Store Carbon?

Yes. Through the process of photosynthesis, hardwood trees and softwood trees both remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide, light, and water transform into sugars including glucose, starch, and cellulose.

This is a form of carbon sequestration, in which carbon is captured from the atmosphere. Trees are natural carbon cleaners. The carbon they store helps offset carbon emissions from other sources.

Carbon is used and stored in every part of a tree, from leaf to root. Starch is found in flowers, fruits, and cones. Glucose aids in respiration, keeping the tree alive. Cellulose, which makes up 40% of wood, supports cell walls. Without cellulose, trees would be unable to stand upright.

An astonishing 50% of the dry mass of a tree is made up of carbon captured from the atmosphere. Harvesting trees and using them for lumber or paper does not release the carbon they’ve stored. Only burning or decay will send it back into the atmosphere.

Though softwood and hardwood trees absorb carbon differently (primarily due to growth rate) they are equally efficient.

What is Made From Hardwood Lumber?

Hardwood lumber is more expensive than softwood because it takes longer for the trees to reach a suitable size for harvest. Hardwood is used for furniture, flooring, cabinets, and musical instruments.

Though hardwood in general is denser and stronger, that is not the case for every species. For example, yew (a softwood) is significantly denser than aspen (a hardwood).

If a project is more decorative than functional, a softer hardwood may be used for its grain pattern rather than a denser softwood that would be more durable.

Hardwood is more difficult to work with than softwood. It is valued by woodworkers for its beauty and strength.

What is Made From Softwood Lumber?

Softwood is the workhorse of the lumber world. It is less expensive and easier to work with and finish. It is used for everything from framing houses to making paper. It’s also used for every single thing hardwood is used for, even instruments.

Softwood is used for Christmas trees, window frames, wood pallets, doors, and plywood. Cedar is used for outdoor decking and siding due to its natural resistance to fungi, insect, rot, and bacteria. Its popularity makes cedar’s price rival that of many slower-growing hardwoods.

Softwood is versatile, renewable, recyclable, and ubiquitous. We’re surrounded by it every day.

Wood is a Renewable and Recyclable Resource

Both hardwood and softwood are incredible, versatile resources. Lumber and other forest products are used in the daily lives of people across the globe.

Wood is one of our most recycled and reused products. Wood furniture is passed down through generations, recycled lumber is used for other projects, and wood pallets are transformed into décor or other items after being reused many times.

Modern logging practices create sustainable, healthy forests. The days of clear-cutting entire old-growth forests are long gone. Today, replanting, selective harvesting, and fire prevention are creating strong, productive forests that benefit both the environment and the economy.

The forest products industry is efficient and dedicated to the health of every aspect of the woodland. From wildlife habitat to soil conservation, forest management strives to keep these amazing resources sustainable for future generations. Private forests currently grow more trees than are harvested.

A harvested tree is used for more than lumber. Every piece of the tree has a use. Small branches, bark, and sawdust can be used as biomass for energy production. This material would otherwise be left to decay, burned on site, or sent to the landfill. In every one of those scenarios, the carbon is released without benefit.

When used as fuel, this material becomes part of the energy grid, reducing reliance on fossil fuels. It is carbon-neutral, releasing no more carbon than had it been left to decay.

The demand for forest products including lumber, paper, wood packaging, and biomass has steadily increased for decades. Rather than harming our forests, responsible woodland management resulted in a 50% increase in trees in the United States since the 1950s.

Responsible management of hardwood trees and softwood trees across the country has made the forest products industry a model of economically beneficial sustainability.

Made From Trees-Forest Products Move Markets

Every day, many of the items used in daily life were made possible by forest products industries. The type of forest products in demand the most are various types of lumber. Used to make everything from furniture to home construction to wood pallets and containers; lumber is vital to many industries.

The transportation and logistics industries use wood pallets to move nearly everything. 1.8 billion pallets are in use every day, shipping 90% of the world’s goods. 90% of those pallets are made of wood, making them some of the most important forest product-derived items in the world.

Forest Products and Processes Add Sustainability

Forest products play a major role in the supply chain. Within the subject of climate change and the impact to the environment, the supply chain is under pressure to increase sustainability and reduce carbon emissions. The forest products industry is at the forefront of harvesting and creating renewable resources and products that are reusable and recyclable.

As part of that process, modern logging practices are incorporating sustainable principles to help forests remain healthy and productive. Well-managed forests generate some of the most valuable resources for mitigating climate change and provide useful products that positively impact daily life.

Wood Packaging Logistics and the Supply Chain

Wood packaging used in the supply chain includes pallets, boxes, crates used to transport goods. Well-designed wood packaging keeps goods from being damaged during transit. When heat treated and stamp-certified according to international standards like ISPM-15, wood packaging ensures that goods move seamlessly between countries and facilitates international trade.

Wood Pallets in the Supply Chain

Wood pallets are a core component of the supply chain. Their functionality makes them easy to load and unload via forklifts and pallet jacks. Their durability helps protect items shipped and their design makes them easy to store for reuse.

Wood pallets set the standard for supply chain strength, resilience, and sustainability. 95% of wood pallets are recycled and reused multiple times throughout their lifecycle. Pallets, as a crucial link in the supply chain, are leading the way toward a circular supply chain that eliminates waste.

They are also increasingly popular with consumers for DIY projects as the public recognizes their versatility. When they do reach the end of their useful lifespan, wood pallets are often down-cycled into other useful products like mulch, wood pellet fuel or craft wood.

A current challenge for wood pallets in the supply chain is availability. A consistent supply of quality pallets has always been in demand. When the pandemic hit, so did a broad increase in products shipped via e-commerce. As shipping has rebounded from those initial lock-downs, demand for pallets has exceeded supply.

At the same time, delays in other parts of the supply chain were causing the price of lumber to increase. Industries that use pallets to ship products began to appreciate the wood pallet as a principal component of a stable supply chain.

Forest Products-Above and Beyond

A relatively new arrival in the world of sustainable forest products is mass timber. Mass timber is an engineered product made up of multiple pieces and layers of wood sandwiched together. The result is an incredibly strong and resilient building material that is used in the construction of large buildings that were once built with steel or concrete alone. Mass timber technology is being used to build in Canada and Europe, and is now beginning to launch significantly in U.S. building construction.

Wood Fuel Powering Industry

Burning wood for fuel is nothing new. But the processes used for this age-old forest product are changing. Rather than using traditional firewood for heat in homes, people are turning to pellet stoves.

The pellets used in these stoves are commonly made from compressing wood byproducts that would otherwise go to waste. Wood pellets contain very little water, making them light and easy to handle and transport. They burn hot and clean and are considered to be carbon neutral.

The same pellets can be used to produce steam and electricity.

Biomass consisting of wood and plant products is finding a place as a clean energy option. It can be burned directly or processed into gas or liquid fuels. While not as clean as solar or wind energy, it is vastly cleaner than fossil fuel use and is renewable.

Residential buildings and industries are turning to biomass and other renewable sources for their energy needs.

Forest products surround us in our everyday lives. Renewable forestry practices have created an industry that leads the way in a world rightly focused on sustainability and net zero carbon emissions.

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