“All timber is environmentally friendly”
Not true! Tradition hardwood flooring taken from oak, bluegum, brushbox and other varieties, takes between 40 to 80 years to reach harvest maturity yet most will happily live-on for hundreds of years. Because these trees take so long to grow, animals, insects and plant life all have plenty of time to use the trees for homes and shelter and become well established. This means that harvesting of these trees is very destructive to the established life in, on and around the trees.
This destruction is also a lot worse than it could be due to traditional timber being from such large and heavy trees. This means that powerful, heavy and polluting machinery and equipment are needed to harvest the trees, compounding the damage and destruction.
“Bamboo is not as eco-friendly as traditional hardwood timber”
Again not true! Bamboo timber (technically from the grass family), is often described as an inferior flooring product by those who don’t understand it yet it has all the properties of hardwood and takes just five years to reach harvest maturity. It is also more than double the hardness of most hardwood timbers. Due to its light weight and prolific growth it is easily harvested with far less damage done to the ecosystem and environment.
It also doesn’t require re-planting as bamboo shoots will happily sprout again, fully replacing the harvest. This means that bamboo produces about 25 times more wood per acre per year than hardwood forests and it absorbs up to four times the amount of carbon as hardwood timber (Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting).
“If timber or bamboo is certified as eco-friendly then it must be”
Not true! Because of the lack of enforced and other standards in many large timber and bamboo producing nations, this means that quality systems are not in place to ensure that only the best or most “eco-friendly” products are shipped. Much of the time it’s nearly impossible to assess just how eco-friendly timber and bamboo flooring is without the company selling the product clearly spelling-out the international standards their products comply with.
Environmentally friendly finishes are much better than traditional finishes
Not true! Many of the “environmentally friendly” finishes used on timber products such as stains and oils are great for their small environmental benefits but often are not practical when used on timber and bamboo floors. This is particularly true when they are used in high-traffic areas where they won’t tend to last more than two years. This means that they will need to be reapplied multiple times which just isn’t practical in most homes when you have to shift all your furniture out of each room that’s being treated. They are also quite a bit more expensive, costing between 30 and 40% more on average over standard finishes, so it’s another catch that you need to be aware of.