If you are using wood then it is imperative that you use as much of the tree as possible. Effective ‘green’ use of wood as raw material means making full use of the tree, as well as replacing it.
Wood Chips are small bits of wood that are made as the result of chipping pieces off of a larger piece of wood. With the correct piece of equipment, any part of a tree can be turned into chips. In fact, because of the large number of commercial applications that chips can be used for, most tree surgeon’s take a wood chipper with them when they are asked to remove or trim a tree. Once wood has been turned into chips it is easier to transport and easier to sell.
If you are a residential homeowner and you are trying to remove a tree but do not want to pay a company to do it, then (although much more labour intensive) a wood splitter axe is a vey effective tool for turning lumps of waste wood into Wood Chips. Tree stumps are usually hard to remove, so employ a company that specialises in stump grinding to take that stump out of the ground, and then that can also be chipped.
Chips can be applied as both raw material and end product.
Chips as raw material
Chips can be pulped for use in the manufacturing of paper, as well as manufactured woods such as MDF (media density fibreboard) and hardboard. With a little creative thinking, it is possible to use 100% recycled wood in your paper and wood construction needs as old chips can be easily cleaned and repurposed for pulping.
Chips can also be used as kindling or processed and turned into solid fuel, such as ecological fire lighters. Using wood and paper based solid fuel is considered more environmentally friendly and is safer around the home.
Chips as end product
With a little bit of treatment, chips can be used in a children’s playground as an alternative surface. The nature of these chips means that you get a very impact resistant surface which has an excellent bounce factor, because the surface is made up of lots and lots of loose material, children do not scrape or damage themselves as easily, compared to rubberised concrete surfaces or even grass. Also, this surface is easy and environmentally friendly to replace as all you need to do is buy more wood chip, there is no industrial processing needed. The only major disadvantage is the mess. Because the chips are loose, the get everywhere so to keep the area around the playground clean, increased maintenance is needed.
Chips can also be used in the garden, as a cheap but effective surface for a garden path or as part of a soil covering to discourage weeds from taking hold. When employing a gardener to perform stump grinding, ask them about the possibility of converting the stump into chips.
Chris Turner trained as an Arborist. He has spent the last five years working as a gardner and now runs his own stump grinding Sydney area business. Chris is a strong advocator for recycling and prints his business letters on paper made from wood chip pulp.