Although there are over 100 tree species in most forests, only two dozen species are commonly used for construction. The demand for these particular woods can lead to over-harvesting and even extinction.
When building your new home or business, it’s important to consider your impact. You can take steps to make your construction project sustainable, such as using plywood alternatives.
Looking for a greener way to start your building project? Read on for the best plywood substitutes you can use to do your part for the environment.
Structural plastic lumber is a recycled material made from plastics such as milk jugs and detergent bottles. HDPE plastic is reinforced with materials like fiberglass and polymers for strength. This durable and long-lasting material can take on a beautiful wood-like appearance.
Used for everything from house construction to marine applications, plastic lumber does not splinter or rot like wood. Their high recyclables content means each 12 ft board contains over 300 milk jugs!
You might not think of bamboo as a construction material, but it is now a popular alternative. Bamboo yields 25 times the usable product of trees and only takes 2-4 years to mature to harvest quality.
Bamboo is a naturally regenerating plant, which means it leaves a smaller carbon footprint. Established bamboo groves also help prevent soil erosion and produce more oxygen than a tree grove of comparable size. This super-plant also helps decontaminate the soil through root filtration.
Relaxation on marijuana and hemp production laws is having an amazing side effect. We’re now learning about the many uses of hemp as a building material. Hemp fiberboard could change the natural composite material market forever.
One acre of hemp can produce the same amount of cellulose pulp as four acres of trees. Hemp and lime blended together can even make a natural concrete-like material. Compressed hemp fiberboards can be up to twice as strong as their wooden cousins.
Hemp, like bamboo, is pest resistant. Hearty against drought, bacteria, and fungus, it returns up to 60% nutrient content to the field. The process of farming and harvesting hemp is much easier on the environment as well.
Wheat Straw Board
A natural MDF board, wheat straw boards are made of fibers discarded from the harvesting process. Bound with a formaldehyde-free adhesive, these panels boast a similar texture to plywood. It’s also more fire and water resistant!
By turning harvesting waste into a sustainable building material, straw boards will reduce carbon emissions from burn-off fires. They’ll also add another source of revenue for farmers who sell their previous waste as a product for manufactured timber.
Plywood Alternatives: A Sustainable Future
As we lose forest land to urban sprawl, plywood alternatives and composite materials are more important than ever. It’s possible to use superior building materials while doing your part to reduce your environmental footprint.
From recycled plastics to improved natural fiber materials, resources exist all around us to build a greener world.
Looking for more ideas on how to complete your construction project? Visit the Home Improvement section at Get That Right for more ideas, tips, and tricks of the trade.