What Is This Furniture Item I Found On The Street Bespoke Urban Street Furniture And The Environment And Effects On Deforestation

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Bespoke Urban Street Furniture And The Environment And Effects On Deforestation

Planning an urban street development project or simply any form of public seating such as park benches, picnic suites and modern ergonomic street furniture has many pitfalls and quite often the one thing that is overlooked in the planning of health and safety and aesthetic value is using timber from renewable sources. Quite often, considerations for wood used in bespoke urban street furniture simply come down to one thing alone: Does it carry the FSC (Forestry Stewardship Council) stamp? While the FSC do some great work in sourcing timber from renewable sources, they are not alone in endorsing timber that has a low impact on the environment, and quite often FSC sourced timber comes at a price. The FSC has also come under scrutiny by the Rainforest Foundation who issued a report in 2002 posing some interesting questions regarding the FSC’s assurances that a wood product carrying FSC’s logo comes from a well-managed forest. This doesn’t mean that we should not use FSC certified timber, use cheaper less environmentally friendly timber, or even use alternative materials such as steel, concrete and plastics which all have their own impact.

Current criticisms of the use of timber focus on the issue of de-forestation. However, compared with concrete, steel, aluminium, plastics and other alternatives, it is widely believed that timber can cause less environmental damage when measured on a true cradle to grave analysis.

Timber is natural, renewable, non-toxic, organic, highly waste efficient; bio-degrades safely and can be recycled. Evidence points to timber’s contribution in the reduction of carbon emissions, and therefore helps to reduce the impact in global warming. For these reasons, it is believed that it is beneficial to the environment to contribute to a free international trade in timber, and to recognise the importance of the forest resource for today and the future.

Contemporary timber furniture such as urban litter bins, street finger posts, planters, bollards, shelters and information signs can also readdress the balance between nature and the more recognisable evidence of urban living such as concrete, steel and glass. We should therefore ensure that current forestry stocks are kept at a premium by investing in real conservation work that is going ahead and making sure that we use outdoor timber based furniture in a controlled and sensible way.

When looking for timber suppliers or bespoke outdoor street furniture manufacturers make sure they use hardwoods, softwoods and panel products sourced from around the world – including the UK that are traceable at source. That way, there is some accountability involved in the production of materials from developments in forestry and forest management. Since no internationally recognised definition of sustainability has been agreed and standards vary from country to country make sure the company refers to well-managed forests only where supporting evidence is available.

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