For Immediate Release
April 7, 2008
Contact: Heather Gagnon
NORTHERN HARD MAPLE VS. BAMBOO – WHO IS REALLY "GREEN"?
Northbrook, Ill. – The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) encourages bamboo industry leaders need to back up their “green” claims regarding bamboo resource management and manufacturing practices and create a system regarding practices with the credibility of an independently verified, third-party certification program similar to the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for northern hard maple. U.S. forest statistics show there is 82% more hardwood growing today than in 1952, approximately 9.5 billion cubic feet of timber is added each year to the hardwood forest industry and more than 200 million acres of forestland in the U.S. are certified as sustainable. Northern hard maple stands are seldom clear cut and are not tilled to remove undergrowth, therefore erosion is seldom a concern as it is with bamboo growing practices. Although wood consumption accounts for almost half of the total annual industrial raw material tonnage, lumber and wood products manufacturing processes account for only 4% of energy consumed by industrial raw material manufacturers. Solid maple flooring does not incorporate the use of resins (urea-formaldehyde) nor are stands enhanced by chemicals such as pesticides, weed killers and fertilizers. Wood is one of the few natural resources on Earth that is at once renewable, recyclable, biodegradable and re-usable. The energy required to grow northern hard maple is free – it comes from the sun.
Bamboo is planted and grown at the expense of other diversified species, even to the extent of clear cutting rain forests to expand growing areas. It is common practice to cut down existing trees and replace them with bamboo. Since there is no organization governing bamboo, such as the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), no one can ensure bamboo has been harvested in a sustainable fashion. Nearly all bamboo flooring sold in North America is produced in the southern Chinese province of Hunan, an area known as “the bamboo sea” where the bamboo forests are owned by the government, and individuals or companies can obtain contracts to harvest with little or no control over the environment and worker safety issues. There is no Fair Trade Certification, ensuring workers have appropriate working conditions and wages. Processing of bamboo is typically done in coal fired plants, which emit significant pollution. Manufacturers of bamboo flooring handle potentially toxic chemicals, including urea-formaldehyde binders and finishes; produce much solid waste; and run equipment that emits combustion gases. The fossil fuels required to move bamboo products around the world constitutes an environmental strike against bamboo, leaving a significant carbon footprint.
The Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association (MFMA) is the authoritative source for technical and general information about maple flooring and related sports flooring systems. MFMA establishes product quality, performance and installation guidelines; educates end users about safety, performance and maintenance issues; and promotes the use of maple flooring products worldwide.
For more information on MFMA and northern hard maple visit our Web site at www.maplefloor.org.