Timber: The Six Rs

Test yourself

The Six Rs

The six R’s (reduce, refuse, re-use, repair, recycle and rethink) are a good way to determine the effectiveness of timber as an environmentally friendly material.

Illustrative background for ReduceIllustrative background for Reduce ?? "content


  • We should consider reducing the amount of wood we use and cut down.
  • We could make products smaller or simply use less wood to help the environment.
Illustrative background for ReuseIllustrative background for Reuse ?? "content


  • Reusing wood and making products from existing discarded furniture is absolutely essential if we are to maintaining the environment which also allows us to give products a new lease of life.
  • Too many times furniture is discarded on landfills and these are burnt and destroyed, we could easily have a system where these pieces of furniture are upcycled to prolong the life of wood as a material.
Illustrative background for RefuseIllustrative background for Refuse ?? "content


  • More needs to be done to refuse certain practices.
  • Refusing in some instances is important because it makes a statement that we need to stop using certain woods that are near enough extinction which can help to prolong the life of these woods.
Illustrative background for Refuse cont.Illustrative background for Refuse cont. ?? "content

Refuse cont.

  • When certain trees are brought into the country as saplings, they have to go through a process where they are checked for infections in case of insect infestations which can spread disease across native trees.

The Six Rs

The six R’s (reduce, refuse, re-use, repair, recycle and rethink) are a good way to determine the effectiveness of timber as an environmentally friendly material.

Illustrative background for Recycle Illustrative background for Recycle  ?? "content


  • Recycling wood can result in materials like chipboard and MDF.
  • These materials are absolutely key in ensuring there is an environmentally friendly approach and materials are being taken care of.
  • The only issue with MDF is the amount of dust it creates when being worked on.
Illustrative background for Recycle cont.Illustrative background for Recycle cont. ?? "content

Recycle cont.

  • Recycling softwood to make a wood filler can be achieved by using the sawdust from the wood and mixing it with wood glue.
  • If you use the same sawdust as the wood you are then able to colour match which helps in terms of aesthetics.
Illustrative background for RepairIllustrative background for Repair ?? "content


  • Many wooden products can be repaired easily.
  • Unfortunately, people often discarded products if they are broken or no longer needed to them.
  • Wooden products, with the help of sanding, filling and fixing, can be upscaled or fully repaired.
  • Essential DIY skills are needed for some projects.
Illustrative background for RethinkIllustrative background for Rethink ?? "content


  • Many wooden products need rethinking completely.
  • Materials like bamboo which are strong and very fast growing, offer an alternative despite being slightly more complicated to produce as a sheet material.
  • Designers and manufacturers are looking at the use of woods with other materials in order to produce composites.
Illustrative background for B&QIllustrative background for B&Q ?? "content


  • Companies like B&Q are now offering free wood that would otherwise be discarded.
  • This is new modern thinking that shows business stepping in the right direction.
Illustrative background for IKEAIllustrative background for IKEA ?? "content


  • IKEA have ownership of a forest in Romania, which helps it to manage waste and wood more efficiently.
  • This initiative is forward thinking and helps to protect the environment.

Jump to other topics

1Core Technical Principles

2Paper & Board: Specialist Technical Principles

3Timber: Specialist Technical Principles

4Metal: Specialist Technical Principles

5Polymers: Specialist Technical Principles

6Textiles: Specialist Technical Principles

7Designing & Making Principles

Go student ad image

Unlock your full potential with GoStudent tutoring

  • Affordable 1:1 tutoring from the comfort of your home

  • Tutors are matched to your specific learning needs

  • 30+ school subjects covered

Book a free trial lesson