Plyco Blog

The Plyco plywood and veneer blog provides product information, practical tips, and project inspiration for completing DIY, architectural & professional projects. Expert plywood product tutorials and catalogue updates will have you completing your project in no time.

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5 Tips For Eco-Friendly Woodworking With Plywood

Being mindful of our environmental impact becomes more and more important as each day passes by. Using wood products can seem counterintuitive to this on the surface though; after all, aren’t you destroying forests to obtain those materials? Luckily, in 2020 we have a far better understanding of the way our process can harm the environment and can devise strategies to make that impact as minimal as possible.

At Plyco, we are proud to boast that our plywood products are environmentally friendly. Sustainable sourcing is one of our top priorities when it comes to sourcing new wood. After all, if the means of obtaining plywood result in the destruction of the forests providing us with plywood there wouldn’t be anything left eventually.

We are passionate about running an eco-friendly operation, and we recognise that for most customers this is a cause near and dear to their heart. To help you make sure your next project supports mother nature, we’re providing five tips that ensure your woodworking ventures with plywood are environmentally friendly.

Tip #1 - Buy Sustainable Plywood

This is probably going to be the most simple and straightforward of all of the tips we offer. Buying Plywood from a supplier who sources their products sustainably makes arguably the biggest difference on the environment, and it is so easy to do!

When you browse Plyco’s extensive collection of different plywood varieties you’ll notice one thing they all share in common. Every product is FSC certified. What that means is the Forest Stewardship Council has verified that the boards and sheets we stock are sourced in an eco-friendly manner. This means, when it comes time to buy you won’t be needing to choose between a ply that hurts the environment and a ply that doesn’t — everything is sustainable!

bamboo plywood forest

Bamboo is known for being exceptionally environmentally friendly.

Getting to Plyco is not always possible or convenient, especially if you live outside of Victoria, which is why we have our online store and Australia-wide delivery. Whether you’re 5 minutes down the road, or on the other side of the country in Western Australia, you can job online, order, and have plywood delivered directly to you without ever lifting a muscle. How’s that for convenience?

Tip #2 - Don’t Waste Plywood!

Measure twice, cut once. That’s the motto of many wise woodworkers who have learned the hard way and it also happens to be a great motto for sustainability!

Ensuring that you get your cuts right the first time means you avoid those frustrating trips to collect another sheet of plywood to make up for your error. Doing so means you’re using less plywood and aren’t wasting perfectly good boards.

plywood cutting

The plywood cutting crew at Plyco live by this motto when working on cut-to-size orders to try their best to fight against unnecessary waste.

Tip #3 - Don’t Waste Plywood, Part 2 - Use Your Off-cuts!

So you’ve finished your project, made all of the correct cuts the first time, but you’re still left with some plywood. Instead of throwing it all away, hang on to it and put it to use. You might not think you need it at the moment, but there will inevitably be a time where it comes in handy and saves you the time and money involved with purchasing a brand new sheet.

If you’re sure you won’t have any future use for the scraps, try and find someone who will! We guarantee there’s somebody out there who could benefit greatly from something you might see as an inconvenience.

plywood offcuts

On a similar note, Plyco keeps its off-cuts and you’re welcome to come look through our collection. We are fully committed to being as sustainable as possible, and by offering plywood off-cuts to customers we believe we are helping the environment in a small way.

Tip #4 - Use Environmentally Friendly Plywood Finishes

Something you might not realise is having an impact on the environment is the type of finish you choose for your plywood.

The goal here is to find finishes that have a low VOC level. What’s VOC? It stands for volatile organic compounds, and finishes with a high VOC level can cause a range of issues. It impacts the natural environment, but inhaling the chemicals from these high level products can also cause major health issues.

To keep yourself healthy, and the environment, be sure to use low-VOC plywood finishes on all of your projects.

Tip #4 - Dispose of Paint Responsibly

Many customers we encounter love to paint their plywood to give it the desired aesthetic for whatever they are building. But, when it comes time to get rid of it or store it away, it’s vitally important that you do so in the proper manner.

whitewashed-painted-birch-plywood

Plywood that has been whitewashed

Firstly, if you’re planning to use the paint again in the future, store your paint cans properly. Doing so will keep the paint from drying out, meaning you won’t have to grab a replacement tin in the future.

Secondly, and more importantly, if you need to dispose of your paint do so in the proper manner. We recommend donating it, however, if that’s not an option you need to take every precaution in getting rid of it. Paint can be absolutely disastrous when it comes into contact with soil or water systems, which naturally has a huge impact on the environment.

 

Armed with these five simple tips you’ll be able to call yourself a certified woodworking eco-warrior. They might seem like extremely basic things to do, but if everyone sticks to them and implements them in their life while working with plywood, the environment will be thanking us.

 

Brandon Marlow
Brandon Marlow
Brandon is the Woodworking Wordsmith and Social Media Sage at Plyco HQ. Crafting copy for customer tutorials, inspiration and advice, Brandon builds and maintains Plyco's plywood knowledge base.

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