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Les couverts en bois présentent des avantages environnementaux.

THE 7 ENVIRONMENTAL BENEFITS OF WOODEN CUTLERY – PART 1

Part 1 of our Environmental Series on Wooden Cutlery

There are many benefits in using wooden cutlery. You can learn more about these benefits in JUstenbois’ recent article on the 10 Reasons Why Wooden Spoons are Great. That article did not explore the benefits of wooden cutlery on the environment. This article will.

It is crucial that we understand the reasons why the most environmentally friendly alternative is wooden cutlery when compared to metal or plastic. Doing so can help you to do your part to protect our planet. The use of wooden cutlery not only helps feed us but also feeds sustainable living practices.

Sustainable living practices help reduce pollution, conserve natural resources like water and energy, prevent encroachment on the natural habitats of wildlife, and help protect the biodiversity of our planet. Following these practices will improve the quality of our lives, protect our ecosystem, and preserve natural resources for future generations.

That is why you should know how to follow a sustainable living practice, which we’ll tell you all about in Part 2 of our environmental series of articles. In this article, you will discover the many environmental benefits of wooden cutlery and learn why JUstenbois Maple Wood Cutlery is the best for anyone who cares about the environment.

Why is Wooden Cutlery Environmentally Friendly?

9,000 Utensils are made from one Maple Tree

To undertand why wooden cutlery is environmetally friendly, we need to look at the following:

  • The cost to the environment of making the utensils
  • The cost to the environment of using the utensils
  • The cost to the enviornment of disposing the utensils

We must also compare wood to the alternatives, namely plastic and stainless steel. Once you understand the difference and the related benefits, you will see why wood is good and what makes it the most responsible choice for the environment.

The 7 Environmental Benefits

1 – The Material Itself

Wood is 100% sustainable — it’s a natural and renewable resource. It’s harvested with minimal impact on the environment if the necessary practices are followed, such as choosing to harvest mature trees and replanting to replace them.

Young forests tend to absorb more carbon overall because trees can be closer together when they are small — more trees, more absorption. Older, taller trees tend to become vulnerable to storms, drought, and lightning. When they become too tall, they tend to lose their efficiency in transporting water to their branches. As a result, their ability to absorb CO2 slows down.

This is why a mix of mature and young trees is the best for the environment. A tree absorbs CO2 while it is growing and creates habitats for wildlife. It is important, though, to only use raw materials from responsibly managed forests.

In contrast, plastic is an artificial material made from oil, gas, and coal, which are non-renewable fossil fuels. It holds harmful materials and releases hazardous gases while being manufactured. Plastics emit greenhouse gases from cradle to grave.

Extraction of fossil fuels is done through drilling, fracking, or mining for coal. These are very invasive processes that disturb the land, contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, which are exacerbated through plastic refining.

Steel comes from iron ore, which is technically a non-renewable resource. However, the recycling of steel is high, and it is a reasonably circular material.

New iron ore is still mined to produce steel. Similar to fossil fuels, its extraction creates land disturbances that are not easily remedied. Steel production requires a lot of energy to produce, three-quarters of which comes from burning coal.

2 – Carbon Footprint

Wood is far more energy-efficient than plastic or metal. Most of the energy used in timber production comes from drying the lumber. Wood that comes from following sustainable management practices has no impact on the environment.

When trees are sustainably harvested, wood continues to store carbon in the thousands of products we use every day, from paper products to lumber to energy generation. Trees then regrow, repeating the cycle. The carbon stored by wood products offsets nearly all of the greenhouse gas emissions related to their production.

Plastic requires a lot of energy during production from fossil fuels. Even recycling plastic is not as environmentally friendly as some people think. The carbon footprint of plastic was 2 billion GtCO2 — tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent — in 2015 and accounted for 4.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the Nature Sustainability Study.

Steel production is also an energy-intensive process, as it requires high temperatures to transform iron ore into steel. In 2018, about 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 emissions, or between 7-9%, were derived from the steel industry.

When people use wood-based products in place of fossil fuel-intensive products — like steel or plastic — there is a permanent benefit to our atmosphere.

3 – Transportation

The environmental cost of transportation of raw materials by all sectors is harmful to the environment.

The cost of transporting wood is high because it is heavy in its raw form, so wood should be sourced locally to limit the impact of transportation on the environment. Luckily, throughout the world there is usually a local source for wood.

The cost of transporting the fossil fuels used to make plastic is also high because it tends to come from far away and can be dangerous to the environment if spilled, as fossil fuels are toxic. Fossil fuels can be transported by ship, rail, truck, or pipeline.

There is also an environmental impact on the areas surrounding a pipeline. The land needs to be cleared for this form of transportation. This also eliminates the plants that would absorb CO2 emissions.

The cost of transporting steel is even higher as it is the heaviest in both its raw and manufactured forms. It usually cannot be sourced locally, so it must be transported over long distances.

4 – Pollution

The manufacture of wood products doesn’t use much energy and causes very little pollution. Wood waste can be recycled, reused, or recovered for other purposes.

Plastic, on the other hand, creates air, land, and water pollution during production and disposal.

Canadians throw away over 3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year. Only 9% is recycled, while the rest ends up in our landfills, waste-to-energy facilities, or the environment. Plastic waste and marine litter burden our economy and threaten the health of the environment, including wildlife, rivers, lakes, and oceans.

Ocean pollution is also linked to plastic, as 3% of global plastic production gets deposited in the ocean water. This high amount of plastic waste significantly threatens marine life.

One of the major pollution sources for steel production is the creation of coke. Coke provides the heat needed to melt ore. Air emissions such as coke oven gas, naphthalene, ammonium compounds, crude light oil, sulfur, and coke dust are released from coke ovens.

Water emissions during steel production come from the water used to cool coke after it has finished baking. Wastewater from the coking process is highly toxic and contains a number of carcinogenic organic compounds as well as cyanide, sulfides, ammonium, and ammonia.

5 – Recycling and Waste Management

Wood can be recycled, reused, or in the case of the shavings that are by-products of milling, repurposed. It can be used as mulch or even composted. There is no need to put wood in its raw form in landfills. It does, however, require some waste management work to develop a network to distribute the waste.

Some plastics can be recycled. It has been estimated that 9% of all plastic produced by humanity has been recycled. While there has been an increased interest in and development of plastic recycling systems and facilities, only 14% of plastic waste is currently being collected for recycling.

Plastic waste management is arguably the most problematic issue facing our environment.

Steel is the most recycled metal, and there is a well-functioning business structure for the recycling of steel. Currently, about 40% of the steel produced comes from recycled material.

Using steel scrap instead of virgin ore reduces CO2 emissions by 58%, which is, of course, much better for the environment. It still requires a significant amount of energy to recycle and produces air and water pollution, as well as significantly more greenhouse gases when compared to wood.

6 – Impact on Wildlife

Wood causes a temporary disruption to wildlife when being harvested. However, if properly managed with selective harvesting, such issues are minimal. Wood is a biodegradable substance and gets decomposed in water, so it poses no threat to marine life.

Plastic consumption has caused 100,000 marine mammals to die annually. Species like whales, dolphins, seals, and porpoises are getting affected as they unintentionally consume tonnes of plastic. Plastic has more significant negative impacts on the environment than timber.

Steel mining activities impact wildlife because of habitat loss as a result of deforestation, erosion, contamination, alteration of soil profiles, noise, dust, and emissions.

7 – Cutlery Production

Wood cutlery is 100% natural. No chemicals are used in the manufacturing process, causing no chemical impact on the environment. Each fork, knife, and spoon use very little wood, and not much energy is required for the production. No water is used in the production process, either. Wood cutlery can last for many years or be single use, depending on the exact product you purchase.

Making plastic cutlery is very energy intensive. It requires chemical and electrical energy through a process called polymerization, which is extremely harmful to the environment. Plastic cutlery also tends to be single use.

The production process for stainless steel cutlery is also energy intensive. It requires forging, hardening and tempering, grinding, and polishing. Forging requires a significant amount of heat, which uses a lot of energy. On the other hand, stainless steel cutlery lasts for many years.

How is JUstenbois’ Maple Wood Cutlery Environmentally Friendly?

JUstenbois' Maple Wood Cutlery is environmentally friendly.
  1. We use Maple Wood that is cultivated following production methods based on sustainable management practices
  2. Mature trees are harvested, making room to vitalize younger trees around them. After the removal of mature trees, younger trees can grow much faster and are able to capture and trap carbon dioxide better, cleaning the air more effectively.
  3. Maple Wood is sourced locally to reduce the impact of transporation of the environment.
  4. Very little energy is used during the manufacturing process. No water is used during the manufacturing process, which means there is no wastewater. No air emissions are produced during the entire manufacturing process, so there is no pollution.
  5. All wood residues are reclaimed. Wood shavings are given to local farmers for chicken coupes and as mulch for gardens. Leftover wood is reclaimed and used to make unique pieces. We follow Zero Waste management practices.
  6. Very little wood is used to make one utensil. Over 9,000 utensils are crafted from one tree, thus requiring few trees to be cut and limiting the impact on wildlife and their environment.
  7. Our Maple Wood Cutlery is designed to last up to 15 years if properly maintained, making this a more sustainable choice that disposable wooden cutlery.
  8. When our Maple Wood Cutlery has reached the end of its life, it can be composed.
  9. Tools used in the manufacturing process are diligently cleaned with all-natural lemon, ensuring that nothing toxic contacts the wood or the environment.
  10. All natural organic ingredients; linseed oil, vegetal wax, rosemary, and citrus are used to seal the wood and enhance the look, ensuring no environmetal impact.
  11. All packaging materials are made from 100% recycled cardboard, biodegradable glue, and water-based inks.
  12. All wrapping material is either reused material or made from recycled paper.
  13. Reused boxes or recycled boxes are used to ship the products.
  14. We use Canada Post for all of our shipments to reduce the number of delivery truacks on the road.
  15. We keep electronic records to reduce printing. When we must print, we use double-sided printing.

Conclusion

JUstenbois Maple Wood Cutlery is one of the most environmentally friendly ways to eat and follow sustainable living practices. Explore our products to elevate your dining experience while caring for our planet.

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