How Sustainable is Plywood?

published Apr 11, 2022
1 min read

These days, it is always important to consider sustainability when choosing any kind of material. Plywood is one of the most commonly used materials these days, especially when it comes to home design. This is for good reason as it has many beneficial properties and can look fantastic in the home. So, how sustainable is plywood and it is a good material to use?

What is Plywood?

Essentially, plywood consists of multiple layers of thin wood (known as wood venire) and adhesive. This creates a product that is strong, durable, lightweight and versatile. Although it sounds modern, the use of layered woods to create one structure actually dates back as far as Ancient Egypt. Plywood as it is known today started in America in the late 1920s.

How is Plywood Made?

Of course, you need to consider how a product is made when assessing its sustainability. Plywood is engineered wood that involves gluing sheets together at right angles, which is known as cross lamination. The process involves trees being cut down, trimmed of their branches and the bark is removed. Logs are then chopped into manageable lengths and then heated and soaked in water. The blocks are then cut into veneers with a peeler lathe and cut to size. Veneers are dried and then glued together to create the final product.

Is it Environmentally Friendly?

Of course, cutting down trees is a form of deforestation and from this viewpoint, plywood is not a sustainable product. However, when this wood is sourced from a well-managed FSC-certified woodland, it can be done in a sustainable manner without impacting the environment. The glue is not an environmentally friendly product that can slowly emit gas into the air, but this is common with many products these days. Although not entirely environmentally friendly, you will find that plywood is recyclable as a class B form of wood. There are also ways to make the product more sustainable, including using local wood and adhesives with low VOC emissions.

How it’s Changing Kitchen Design

Fortunately, there has been a breakthrough in recent times with the advance of FSC certified plywood made in an ethical manner and free from formaldehyde. The result is a product that is sustainable, attractive, strong and affordable. Sustainable plywood is changing kitchen design as it is a material that is being used throughout the kitchen, including countertops, cabinets, flooring and even walls. It can also suit many interior design styles while allowing homeowners to know that they are redoing their environmental impact.

Plywood is a fantastic material that can be used in many ways, but it is also not the most sustainable as an engineered form of wood. Fortunately, there are more sustainable versions available that can bring all the benefits of plywood while being greener.