photo of woman sanding wooden chair

Repairing, restoring or adapting existing wood items

Before you buy a brand-new wooden product, think if it's possible to repair what you have – or at least buy items made from reconditioned or recycled wood.
  Published:  17 Jun 2019    |      2 minute read

Trees are a natural ally in the fight against runaway climate change, and provide a much-needed home for wildlife. 

As well as asking the government to double tree cover, we can help reduce demand for new timber by buying fewer new products.

Read on to find out how you can help.

Did you know?

UK households generated almost 3 million tonnes of wood waste in 2016, according to UK statistics on waste - February 2019 update, by DEFRA. Most of this ‘waste’ ended up in landfill sites or incinerators. 

Recycling awareness has been improving over the years - there are also other things we can all do to help keep wood waste to a minimum. The best environmental choices are to repair, restore or adapt wooden products you already have.

You may need expert help, but it could still be cheaper than buying something new. And it's far better for the world's forests.

Check out sources of second-hand, recycled or reclaimed timber. And make sure you recycle any wood items you can't use or repair yourself.

Top tips for your old timber

Here are some ideas for repurposing or passing on your timber instead of sending it to landfill.

1. Would someone else like it?

Can friends or neighbours use the spare timber from your house or garden? Would a local school or community group appreciate timber off-cuts from your project? Try offering it on your local Freecycle group.

2. Can your old furniture go to a new home?

Some charity shops take good quality second hand furniture. And there are over 300 furniture recycling projects around the UK that pass reusable items on to low-income families. The Furniture Recycling Network can tell you about a scheme near you.

3. Is your timber good enough to sell?

Some good quality things, such as doors, fireplaces and kitchen units, might be worth selling to a recycling yard. You can do this through an advert in a local shop, newspaper or via SALVO (experts in reclaimed building materials). Alternatively, try the usual websites like Ebay and Gumtree

4. Does your local authority recycle timber?

You can check out your local authority website to see if it recycles wood from its household waste sites or has other timber recycling schemes.

Trees and the environment

A more sustainable approach to recycling or reusing unwanted wood or timber is a good start - and there’s more we can do to protect trees. Centuries of industrialisation and house-building have drastically reduced tree cover in the UK and around the world. That's why Friends of the Earth is campaigning to double UK tree cover.