The Finnish forest sector promotes the more sustainable future.
This year’s meeting of the Committee on Forests and the Forest Industry (COFFI) and the 5th European Forest Week revolves around the topic of the circular economy. We are moving towards a non-linear economic model that is based on recycling, reusing, minimizing waste and lowering carbon emissions.
The Uusi puu (New Wood) initiative exhibition at the Salle des Pas Perdus demonstrates the forest industry’s innovative wood-based solutions to global challenges like resource scarcity and conscious consumption. The exhibition runs at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, and it ends November 15.
“The forest sector, indeed, provides the best example of a circular economy so we have decided to team up with the Finnish Uusi puu. They have a very interesting concept and products that reflect circular economy principles,” states Paola Deda, Chief of The UNECE/FAO Joint Forestry and Timber Section.
Packaging, furniture and even clothing and washbasins can be made from renewable forest-based raw materials. These sustainable products can be used on a daily basis.
“The products are both beautiful and functional. They show us that a world without plastics is possible. I am sure that the exhibit will attract not only conference visitors but also thousands of people passing through these corridors.”
Wood is versatile material
"With this exhibition, we want to demonstrate that wood is a renewable material that can be used for manufacturing a whole range of products," explains Executive Director Eveliina Pokela from the Uusi puu initiative.
The innovations prove that it is possible to replace fossil-based raw materials, not only plastic but also aluminum and ceramic. In the exhibition there is - for example - a washbasin made of wood fibers.
"These examples demonstrate how to make consumer products from renewable raw materials. The washbasin won the design prize of the year at the Habitare exhibition in Finland,” she adds.
"In addition, we have new packaging boards that have fewer plastics which increase product recyclability. Then we have acoustic panels made of pulp, bioactive compounds and composites made of recycled materials to replace the use of oil-based raw resources."
The forest industry exploits several kind of side streams coming from the industrial processes. Pokela says that Uusipuu brings different actors together, capturing the attention of policy makers and legislators in this field.
"With our exhibition here at the UN we want to demonstrate that wood is a versatile material that has various end-uses. We are moving in the right direction and thanks to the upcoming innovations we can gradually increase the product range made of sustainable and recyclable wood fibers in the future."
Text by Vesa Puoskari