To particle board or not that’s the question.
Would you rather buy particle board furniture or real wood?
For some, it’s a no brainer why on earth would you want to harvest new trees to make furniture?
Common sense easily grind up old wood and reclaimed saw dust, add a secret sauce and then make new furniture out of it. Genius, right?
While it is true press board furniture is made from all types of recycled wood sources it’s also a manufactured product which means additives.
Even more shocking some particle board products are actually made from harvesting virgin forests.
But before I talk about the cons let me tell you about the good things about particle board.
- It’s inexpensive
- Primarily made of a recycled commodity.
Particle board is impregnated with glues,chemical hardeners and formaldehyde.
For example, in order to bind the wood particles together, manufacturers use toxic glues and hardeners in addition these produce noxious fumes when burned and manufactured and as a healthy bonus they leach toxins into the earth when landfilled.
In fact, most particle board contains formaldehyde a known carcinogen. Why? Because formaldehyde produces a tough resin which binds the wood chips together.
Check out how press board is made:
Particle board furniture is weak!
It’s important to note, once you put particle furniture pieces together it’s difficult dare I say, almost impossible to take them apart or move them without avoiding complete and utter destruction.
Especially troublesome are the screw hole areas, in fact if you aren’t going to move your furniture we suggest you add wood glue to the screw holes in order to keep the screws in place.
If you decided to purchase furniture made of particle board keep in mind it’s life expectancy, it’s no where near that of a quality wood piece.
It’s heavier than wood
Of course in college your learned how heavy particle furniture really is. Moving particle board furniture seems trivial until you try and move them once they are already assembled. Not the easiest task.
Also the extra weight means more carbon is put into the atmosphere in order to it’s transport it.
Ok so why is wood better?
Lasts longer, wood isn’t impregnated with formaldehyde and it can be disassembled without the screw holes becoming unusable.
Wood also has the ability to be shaped and carved and lends itself to the creation of amazing and artistic works.
Yes indeed, other than the obvious limitation (scarcity) wood is amazing and we aren’t going to write an article about it since it’s a known fact.
Ok, particle board furniture sucks, but wood is cut from trees! What to do?
Yes indeed there is so much furniture being tossed you are certain to find something to appeal to your taste all while keeping your home free of formaldehyde.
Buy quality used furniture and antiques.
Yes the resale market, it’s all the rage. Everything from thrifting, flea marketing to upscale resale shops are all the rage for finding amazing wooden pieces.
It’s also not uncommon to find amazing finds at estate sales. Check your local newspaper or craigslist for local announcements.
While recycled furniture sounds like an amazing way to recycle old wood reuse of already manufactured pieces is the best solution.
Luckily things are slowly changing as manufacturers of press board are slowly adapting and looking for chemical alternatives to formaldehyde.
Before purchasing a furniture pieces always inquire about the wood origin as well as whether it contains formaldehyde.