By Paul Brackett, BBC NewsMagazine’s senior technology writerTucked away in a remote corner of a tiny, rural community in western Australia, a few hundred metres from the ocean, sits a simple yet powerful contraption.
It’s a simple piece of furniture: a gazegraf of a laminated aluminium laminate, attached to a single plywood frame, and made to sit in an open, vertical slot on a tree stump.
The structure has been built from reclaimed lumber, with the intention of making the material more environmentally friendly.
The design itself is simple and effective: it’s just a big sheet of aluminium laminated to the wood.
“It’s not going to be the most beautiful piece of laminate I’ve ever seen, but it’s definitely one of the more eco-friendly things you can do,” says Steve Smith, a materials scientist with the Queensland government.
The shelf is designed to hold the laminated material and not to touch the ground, and it’s also a very efficient way to store and recycle the material.” “
The main thing is that it has a shelf for the laminate to sit on, so it’s not in direct contact with the water.
The shelf is designed to hold the laminated material and not to touch the ground, and it’s also a very efficient way to store and recycle the material.”
In Australia, the state of Queensland has a wide range of projects to support the sustainability of the industry.
It has the largest recyclable laminate program in the country, which is currently used to manufacture insulation in Queensland’s Central Coast.
In a bid to help promote its use, the Queensland Department of Agriculture has partnered with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency to produce the ‘Boom’ program.
This program aims to make up to $40,000 from a single year’s use of recycled wood.
For the first six months of the program, Queensland government projects will produce about 10,000 cubic metres of recycled timber.
That’s about a third of the amount of timber that will be required to produce all the insulation needed in the state.
“We’re looking at a 50 per cent cut of the materials we need to be using,” says Smith.
“That’s the minimum amount of material that’s going to make it into our home.”
For this project, the government decided to use a common wood from around the country to make the laminates, but also the use of a variety of different wood types.
“One of the big advantages is that we’re not just looking at one type of wood,” Smith says.
“You could look at a single type of pine, or you could look to the common birch, or a variety that are also good at taking up moisture.”
It was not until the following year that the Queensland Government announced it would be converting the timber it had used for the program into a new product.
“In that time, we’ve developed the technology, the processes, the materials, and the processes to produce more,” says Queensland Agriculture Minister Peter Collier.
“Now, we’re looking to make more products from this material.”
The state’s first-ever commercial timber sale was held in late November.
The price of the timber was $7.50 per cubic metre, which equates to $1.40 per square metre.
The Government is planning to produce as much as 4 million cubic metres over the next three years.
The use of reclaimed lumber has come at a time when Australia is experiencing its biggest fire crisis in living memory.
At least 5,000 hectares have burned in the past two years.
While the fire has been raging for nearly a year, the fires have been largely contained.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australia’s forests are currently at their lowest level since record keeping began in 1850.
“I think a lot is happening in the forests, but certainly the forest fires are the biggest problem,” Smith said.
“What I think is important for people to understand is the rate at which these fires are happening.
We’re not seeing a drop in the number of fires, but the rate of the fires is really changing.”
While this has prompted concerns about the sustainability and environmental impacts of these fires, Smith says it is far from the first time we’ve seen a similar situation.
“People are worried about climate change, they’re worried about water resources, they are worried that the environment will be damaged,” he says.
For instance, the timber industry is facing the biggest fire in its history, after burning nearly 7,000 acres of land.
“But in this case we are not really worried about fire because we’ve had such a long time to get through these fires,” he said.