Prevention of Landfill Waste or Incineration
One of the goals of the salvaging process is to acquire the wood before it gets shipped to the landfill. This means scouting for lumber at shipyards, demolition sites, going-out-of-business sales, and building renovation sites. Often, salvageable wood is mixed with other waste, so it’s necessary to do some sorting. When this happens, the professionals separate the high-quality pieces of timber from the waste and recyclable materials. This process generally involves:
- Sorting the wood by hand;
- Removing nails and bolts from the wood;
- Banding units of wood together; and
- Taking the leftover metal, plastic, and nylon to the recycling center.
The mid-grade pieces of wood that don’t make the cut are repurposed and made into usable items, such as pallets. Low-grade wood is used as firewood or becomes bio-fuel.
The highest-quality timber that’s salvaged is dried in a kiln to stabilize it. Once it’s dried, the lumber gets milled to remove its old, rugged exterior. This is when the lumber’s true beauty starts to appear, as you can start to see the different hues and characteristics of the original wood. The reclaimed wood is then packaged and shipped to those who seek beautiful new tabletops, paneling, flooring, decks, countertops, and more.
Interesting Facts about Reclaimed Wood
- The process of producing reclaimed wood flooring uses 13 times less cumulative energy than that of producing virgin wood flooring.
- The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that demolished buildings provide about 1,000,000,000 feet of usable lumber per year.
- At Oregon’s Port of Portland, approximately 941,000 tons of breakbulk materials were unloaded at the marine terminal in 2011.
When it comes to reclaimed wood versus virgin wood, the choice is simple. There is no better way to acquire strong, old-growth timber or exotic woods and take care of the planet while beautifying a home or business.