Improving wood preservatives to protect the environment
Using wood chemicals to indirectly help conserve forested resources Decreasing environmental toxicity of wood preservatives
Chemical preservatives are widely used to extend the life of wood products. Extension of these products' useful life reduces pressure on forest resources. At the same time, wood preservative chemicals are toxic, and if improperly used can adversely affect the environment. Improving the performance and safety of wood preservatives will benefit the environment.
A recent survey indicates that around 30 million cubic meters of wood are industrially treated each year world-wide, using an estimated 500,000 tonnes of wood preservatives. Measures for environmental protection in the wood preservation industry include life-assessment techniques to wood preservation, recycling of treated wood products, recovery of wood preservative chemicals from treated wood, and their destruction. The International Research Group on Wood Preservation (IRG) aims to improve the safety and durability of wood preservation through research and information dissemination. UN Environment Programme IE/PAC has formed a working group of experts from industry, government, and international institutions, and has prepared a UNEP IE/PAC technical report entitled [Environmental Aspects of Industrial Wood Preservation].
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