Reuse, a Neglected “R” Word in “Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle”


  • Martin A. Hubbe Department of Forest Biomaterials, College of Natural Resources, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8005, Raleigh, NC 27695-8005


Environmental impact, Life cycle, Biomaterials, Sustainability, Wood products


This editorial considers hindrances that keep me from making sure that my used wooden furniture items don’t get thrown out at a point where their wooden content still has decades or hundreds of years of potential service left in them.  I am a careless and lazy person, and I am not always appreciating the different ways in which other people might be ready to appreciate and utilize my cast-off items.  Continued usage of a wooden item can be the ultimate in minimizing environmental impacts.  I might envision that the only usage of an old, scuffed wooden dining room set is full restoration.  But my niece might need it for her college apartment.  A friend of a friend might need it for an informal basement art studio.  Alternatively, if the set is really well beyond use in its original form, it could be converted into wood particles for particleboard or incinerated to generate renewable energy.  Whether I use eBay, word of mouth, my church’s electronic bulletin board, or just put the item out by the curb on a sunny day, a wooden item of furniture has the potential to continue to provide valuable service for much longer than I might first imagine.






Editorial Piece