What if plastic packaging was made from wood?

By Amy Androff, Forest Product Laboratory
US Department of Agriculture
October 18, 2022
Category: Wood, Paper & Green Building
Region: United States, US East

Two major societal issues—wildfire and petroleum-based plastics—are currently affecting life on our planet and significantly adding to greenhouse gas emissions. The USDA Forest Service’s Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) is invested in one solution for both by developing recyclable, next-generation packaging materials from wood. Wildfire has caused catastrophic damages to the American West because of hazardous fuel loads and a century of fire suppression. …Plastics production contributes approximately 4% to global greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 8,300 million metric tons of virgin plastics has been produced as of 2017. …The Forest Service has been developing sustainable packaging solutions from wood for over 100 years, starting with wooden crates from WWI munitions. This year, with partners at University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University, FPL researchers will holistically use the low-grade timber from western forests to create prototype packaging products that could one day become an equivalent alternative to current plastic packaging.

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