Aren't hardwood floors the very enemy of being green?! Absolutely not.
It's actually exactly the opposite. It's hard to accept, though, after decades of "tree hugging" and being influenced into believing that logging and use of timber to sustain our ways of life is tantamount to killing baby seals or dumping barrels of toxic waste into the oceans. Oh, how good intentions can go so astray…
The fact is that when compared to the use of fossil-fuels, using wood for fuel, furniture, packaging, and flooring (in their vast number of variations) is actually a positive step toward environmental responsibility and sustainability.
Think about it…wood is the world's most prolific, versatile renewable raw material. If you go in and log and area, leaving stumps and tire tracks in your wake, nature will aggressively and persistently (and effectively) repopulate the area with foliage until you could never tell it had ever been stripped of its trees. And burning wood for fuel does not contribute to the carbon dioxide problem we're warned against, whereas, oil or coal-based materials do.
Let's look at a simple example: you go to your neighborhood family restaurant, but of course your eyes are bigger than your stomach, so you ask for a doggie bag. The server promptly brings out a little plastic container with a plastic lid to put your leftover hot wings in.
That little package is most likely petroleum-based plastic. What if it were cardboard? Immediately you think, "No! We need to save trees!" (We're so conditioned, right?) But the reality is that the nonrenewable nature of plastic as well as the high demands for energy of the factories to produce the plastic does much more damage to the environment than using paper products, which are more and more frequently being grown and harvested in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly manner. (see Is Your Wood Flooring Certified?)
Deforestation is really when an area is stripped and then replaced with something else, like shopping malls or subdivisions. Reforestation happens naturally, and reputable companies that manufacture products such as hardwood flooring make certain that the trees they use are replaced. So you can actually feel fine about using hardwood flooring because it's really the lesser of evils when talking about sustainability.
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