Creative ways to reduce wood waste

Published Tuesday 08th November 2016

Just over one-tenth of wood waste is recycled in the UK - the rest ends up in landfill.  meaning we lose out on the huge economic and environmental benefits of using the wood again.

While we’ve already explored ways in which the industry can reduce joinery waste, in this guide we look at creative ways we can all do our bit in helping limit the amount of wood we throw away.

Sawdust

Sawdust and wood waste in many countries is still regarded as a troublesome by-product of sawmilling operation and often disposed of as landfill or incinerated, thus causing environmental problems. However, sawdust has a variety of uses:

  • Filling wood holes and defects: very fine sawdust or “wood flour” makes excellent, stainable filler when mixed into putty with wood glue.
  • Cleaning: sawdust can be used for soaking up oil spills - just sprinkle it on, let it sit for a while, then sweep up. Similarly, sawdust is great for cleaning concrete floor – mixed with water with water, using a push broom to sweep it around. The wet sawdust will capture and absorb fine dust and grime. It can also be used to clean greasy, oily hands and tools. Sprinkle it on, massage thoroughly, and add more sawdust as necessary.
  • Protecting the environment: Not only living trees but also chipped wood can care for clean air and water. A mixture of wood chips and compost can be used as bio filter to treat odorous air. Did you know, a well-managed bio filter can reduce odour emissions by 85%, hydrogen sulphide by 90% and ammonia by around 60%?
  • Animal husbandry: sawdust and woodchip can also be used for animal bedding (such as horses and cows) and pet litter for small animals such as hamsters and guinea pigs.

Wooden Pallets

A wooden pallet is anything but waste timber. Due to the popularisation of rustic, ‘urban chic’ trend, wooden pallets can be used for a variety of projects. From furniture like benches, coffee stables and headboards, to decorative pieces and storage. Check out some more ideas here.

Mulch ado about nothing

Sawdust and woodchips can also be used to mulch. Although sawdust apparently takes about a year or so to become really useful as a fertilizer, sawdust from walnut wood is a natural weed killer.

Mulching is an ecologically and logical way to build a garden. As well as sawdust and woodchips, fallen leaves, grass clipping, weeds, branches and dead plants can be used to mulch garden beds. The organic “waste” will break down to feed the soil, as well as protect it from drying out in the sun, safeguard microorganisms and soil life, and preserve and conserve water. Did you know, watering is reduced by more than 50 percent when a garden is mulched?

Switch it up

Ever thought about changing the type of material you’re working with? We’ve had great success in advising clients to switch to laminated timber.

We found that due to an excessive waste factor using solid material, a saving could be made by switching from solid timber and over to a laminated.

And you?

Have you got any creative ideas on how to re-use or reduce your wood waste? Or perhaps you’re looking for the right material to suit minimise wastage? Be sure to share your thoughts with us on Facebook or Twitter or take a look at our fantastic range of timber here.