Buy Solid Wood Mouldings With a Clear Conscience
At MMPA’s (Moulding and Millwork Producers Association) March meeting in Santa Monica, CA, Ivan Eastin related both the problems and the potential of the wood moulding market. Eastin directs CINTRAFOR (Center for International Trade in Forest Products) and teaches at the University of Washington.
According to Eastin (DWM Magazine), wood moulding sales will grow through exporting. For example, China imports more solid wood than it imports, and it plans to build 36 million housing units within the next five years.
Now the bad news
He also reported on the decline in wood moulding sales since the recession. Prior to 2006, moulding sales grew almost 24% or $694 million annually. After the recession, it fell 12% or $393 million annually. Housing accounts for much of this drop. But he also pegged it to a loss in market share to MDF and PVC mouldings.
We can speculate on the practical reasons for this market shift. MDF is cheaper and more consistent, painted moulding is a popular trend, and PVC does not rot.
But did environmentalism also play a role in this shift?
Practical reasons aside, could environmentalism also affect solid wood sales? Deforestation is a problem in rainforests, not in America. Yet, well-intentioned Americans often choose reprocessed over natural wood material out of a sense of environmental consciousness. Ironically, MDF material is available only as a by-product of solid wood manufacturing. We need solid wood in order to produce it.
PVC’s core ingredient is plastic, a byproduct of refining fossil fuels, oil or natural gas. PVC also requires a host of chemical additives: stabilizers, waxes, lubricants, stiffening agents, impact modifiers, blowing agents, and colorants.
Wood is renewable, abundant, and sustainable
MDF and PVC materials are important innovations and offer value to consumers. Without MDF, we’d buy less furniture. But if environmentalism is partly responsible for solid wood’s drop in market share, then we’ve got a public relations problem. MDF depends upon solid wood manufacturing for its material; PVC is tied to fossil fuels. Yet, wood is one of America’s most renewable, abundant, and sustainable resources.
Go to the National Hardwood Lumber Association (NHLA) for information on America’s forest industry. Our Industry Information page includes NHLA’s Truth About Trees, and Why North American Hardwoods. At Midwest Prefinishing, we value and enhance wood’s beauty. We encourage its use and appreciate America’s responsible forest management, assuring this wonderful, God-given blessing to future generations to enjoy.