Is the wood update due?
At the dawn of the 5th industrial revolution; slowly being accepted and implemented is an ambitious goal set by humanity during the Paris Agreement of 2016; a goal to fight against climate change; in which we are looking forward to environmentally sustainable methods not only goods and products; but also lifestyle changes that harmonize humans with the environment. While we have adopted a habit regularly updating of mobile phones to the latest technology; as far as certain other aspects of life are concerned; we have continued our dependency on natural materials and products.
One striking example of this is something that is being used since Adam and Eve; something which we long know could cause a highly detrimental effect on climate change, a material who & update is long due and that is WOOD. There obviously is no point being stuck with the debate of whether using wood is the best alternative for our demands or not especially when there may be better alternatives; to which we can switch over to for sustainable growth. Yet we write this to leave no doubt that we need an update and an alternative to wood.
We have been using wood since the stone ages in one form or the other. In centuries that came, we have perfected the art of woodworking to built tools and even intricate architectural marvels. With the advent of power tools, machinery, and automation working with wood has become very easy. Since trees are the only source of wood; it has been available in abundance all around the world. We are largely dependent on wood for products like paper, construction materials, furniture and also rely on it as a major source of energy.
Not only is there ease in manufacturing wooden products; but also making items out of wood is considered to have a relatively low environmental impact in terms of carbon emissions during manufacturing; further wood is assumed to decompose naturally. Hence without a doubt, it is largely considered by many as a greener alternative for most of our products, but this may not be completely true. Very beautifully depicted below is a picture of how trees were destroyed for our selfishness.
So, is there a better and more environmentally friendly alternative to wood having the same benefits but is more sustainable?
Even though wood is abundant at many locations, in countries like India which are densely populated and land is a scarce commodity; spaces reserved for cultivation are difficult, leading to massive import of wood as a raw material (Rs.428.42 CR worth during FY2019). So if we are able to supplement the needs for wooden products that are more readily available, easy to work with, and at least at par with the environmental impact of wooden items;
It could be a confident step towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals as envisaged by United Nations. It seems to be the right time to upgrade wood with a material that has the same qualities as wood but produces even lesser carbon footprints in the production. Another environmental problem that is undeniably concerning is plastic. Though deemed as having an extremely detrimental impact on the planet, one cannot disagree that the invention of plastic has been a boon to humankind in so many ways.
Plastic items are cheap to produce and in some way irreplaceable from our daily lives. The plastic problem we face today is not due to its nondecomposing nature but is due to its improper disposal. If we abide by the principles of the circular economy, every plastic item ever created will be recycled and bought back into the economy till it reaches its end, in the form of plain carbon atoms we could achieve a carbon reduction of 25% which was produced during the very first production of plastics, as per the analysis of plastic recycling industries by Zhe Liu et al in Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews.
We can’t deny the fact that plastic has become an integral part of our society in the 21st Century; most of which spawns to generate a limitless amount of plastic waste.
- So, can two wrongs make a right in this scenario?
- Can a material be made out of otherwise hazardous plastic waste; which will save trees from being cut down to serve our need for wood?
- And wouldn’t such material be exciting for environmentalists especially when we know that
recycling of plastics generates the least carbon footprints when it comes to waste management
of any product?
We, at FeelGood EcoNurture LLP with The Shakti Plastic Industries, are working on such a solution to provide this much-needed update to wood.