An Underrated Household Hero
Cereal boxes, shampoo, paint, bedsheets, pencils, and egg cartons. What do you think these items all have in common?
Yes, they are all probably in your home right now, but believe it or not, they also all come from trees.
The first use of trees that probably comes to mind is lumber. Lumber is used in construction, carpentry, heating, and furniture production. Examples in your home include any wooden furniture, flooring, or framing.
Trees can produce all of the household items pictured above!
Now let’s look at some of the more surprising uses of trees. The cellulose from trees can thicken shampoo and toothpaste, create eyeglass frames, make rayon clothing, and even act as a filler for pills. The next time you use your toothpaste, check to see if it contains “cellulose gum”. If it does, this means that part of your toothpaste came from a tree!
The roll of paper towels on your kitchen counter, the coffee filters and cereal boxes in your pantry, and the newspapers and catalogues you receive in the mail all come from wood pulp. Not to mention your bedsheets, fast food wrapping, jigsaw puzzles, wallpaper, and egg cartons. In fact, pretty much any paper or cardboard product you can think of started as a pile of wood pulp.
Think of the last time you chewed a piece of gum, took aspirin to relieve that stubborn headache, or used a detergent to do your laundry. Once again, these are all everyday products that come from trees! Did you know that aspirin comes from Willow tree bark? Or that the base for chewing gum can come from spruce tree sap? Detergents contain acids from the bark of certain trees. As you can see, the sap and bark of trees can produce some of our most used daily products.
Pictured above are Paulownia trees planted on a Smart Forest partner plantation in Romania in 2016.
So what comes from the trees that Smart Forest partners plant? Our partners plant Paulownia trees are mainly used for biomass production and sawn wood. When wood is harvested to produce heat or electricity, it is referred to as biomass. An alternative source of energy, biomass is renewable and much more sustainable than burning our depleted supply of fossil fuels. The emissions from biomass energy are also significantly less polluting than those from traditional energy sources. Paulownia trees are also used as sawn wood, to frame houses, and to produce windows and doors, furniture, fencing, and flooring.
Now that you see how many products come from trees that you use, it is easy to understand the constant demand for timber. This demand will only continue to grow as our world prioritizes the use of sustainable materials. We have already seen a shift from plastic to paper straws and the use of more cardboard in food packaging and storage. To be less reliant on plastics and fossil fuels, we must be able to supply enough timber to make a change. How can you help support a more sustainable world? Invest in trees! Not only can you be sure that your trees will always be in demand, but their timber can be used in place of unsustainable materials, taking us one step closer to a greener future.