Environmental Attribute Overview

There are a wide variety of environmentally-responsible sources for wood products. And - wood is one of the most environmentally “green” products.

At the same time, there is a high degree of confusion concerning “green” wood products given the lack of consistent industry standards guiding the language describing them. Terms such as recycled, salvaged, green, certified, reclaimed are often used interchangeably and “sustainable” is claimed by nearly everyone. Then, we also have the issue of the 3rd party certifiers changing their definitions annually just like the US tax laws - and expecting all of us to keep current. At EcoTimber, we have been involved in sourcing wood for decades and have seen too many “3rd party” certification programs come and go to hang our hat solely on their latest definitions “du jour” of sustainability - which seem to change each year anyway.

Recognizing this lack of clarity, EcoTimber has made an effort to rationalize the language used to describe “green” wood products, organize them into logical categories and then identify them with a simple system of symbols which need NOT change each year. The result of this work is the following set of “Eco” icons, which we affectionately call "Econs".

Recycled Wood Fiber

Recycled Wood Fiber is wood fiber that is a by-product of other wood manufacturing processes, and includes the resultant waste such as sawdust, veneer backer boards, peeler cores, and so forth.

This type of recycled content is described as “pre-consumer” or “post-industrial” (the latter is the term we favor). Note: there is also “post-consumer” recycled content, which involves recycling wood products & wood fiber that has already been used by consumers and discarded is now reworked into new products or simply reused as is.

  • Recycled Post Industrial

    Recycled – Post Industrial

    Qualifies as FSC Recycled & USGB LEED MR4 Waste wood such as sawdust, veneer backing boards, peeler logs.

Reclaimed Wood

Recycled Wood Fiber is wood fiber that is a by-product of other wood manufacturing processes, and includes the resultant waste such as sawdust, veneer backer boards, peeler cores, and so forth.

Examples of remanufactured items include timbers from the deconstruction of old buildings, fences or crates/dunnage that is then re-milled into new products like flooring. Examples of reuse include the reuse of doors, windows, flooring and other wood products like posts that are reused “as is” without remanufacturing into another product.

  • Reused Flooring

    Recycled – Reused Flooring

    Qualifies as FSC® Recycled & USGB LEED MR3 Old flooring reused from buildings being torn down.

  • Reclaimed Building Deconstruction

    Reclaimed – Building Deconstruction

    Qualifies as FSC® Recycled & USGB LEED MR4

Salvaged Logs

Salvaged Logs are distinguished from other categories in that the basic wood fiber source is logs which have already been felled - rather than sawn wood or reused wood from previously manufactured wood products or current manufacturing processes. This category covers all sources for logs that are being felled for purposes other than timber harvesting (or were lost in transport) and hence are in fact salvaged. Sources include urban forest trimmings, salvaged logs from waterways, logs from orchards, or logs from felling of standing deadwood but only as a result of a major natural disaster that killed an entire forest or species.

  • Salvaged Post Agricultural

    Salvaged Logs – Post Agricultural

    Salvaged from old orchards being replanted.

  • Salvaged Forest Deadwood

    Salvaged Logs – Forest Deadwood

    Learn More

  • Salvaged From Industrial Forestry

    Salvaged Logs – Industrial Forestry

    Salvaged from industrial forest thinnings destined to be chipped.

  • Salvaged from Urban Forests

    Salvaged Logs – Urban Forests

    Logs salvaged from trees growing in urban areas.

  • Salvaged from Waterways

    Salvaged Logs – Waterway

    Sunken logs raised from river and lake bottoms.

Sustainable Forestry

The Sustainable Forestry category covers wood that is harvested from natural forests or plantations.

We have created the 3rd Party Certified Wood “Econ” to allow EcoTimber to label products correctly, but without all the requirements that certain 3rd party certifying organizations require when using their trademarks, which are difficult to meet when printing and using in graphic presentations where space is very limited. On our “Econ” we then have a reference number that ties back to which third party program a given item is certified against. Then within the limitations of that certifier, we also add their label in the manner they require.

We believe that the Forest Stewardship Council® is currently the main credible forest certification program and we use the proper “on product” FSC® labeling and their designations such as FSC® 100%, FSC® Mix, FSC® Recycled & the various current combinations. We also use, as required, their generic FSC® labeling on all marketing and information pieces without any actual product attached. This generic labeling does not, as required, detail any of the portions of FSC®, Mix, Recycled.

EcoTimber also includes a category for plantations to designate timber that comes from plantations that are not established at the expense of natural forest and do not use genetically-modified organisms (GMOs).

  • Forest Stewardship Council

    Sustainable Forestry — FSC® 100%

    All of the wood in this product comes from forests that are certified well-managed according to the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Qualifies as FSC® 100% & USGB LEED MR7.

  • Forest Stewardship Council

    Sustainable Forestry — FSC® Mix

    This product is certified according to the rules of the Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) for “Mix Sources.” At least 75% of the wood in this product comes from well-managed forests; the remaining content comes from “controlled” sources—i.e. legal, non-endangered, and non-old growth sources.

  • Plantation

    Sustainable Forestry — Plantation

    Plantation-grown on afforested lands and not GMO.

Other Environmental Attributes

The Other Environmental Attributes category covers all environmental attributes that are not found in the other categories, including embodied energy/local materials, air quality/added-formaldehyde, and rapid renewability.

  • Rapidly Renewable

    Rapidly Renewable

    15 years or less regrowth rate with average years to regrow listed. Qualifies as USGB LEED MR6.

  • Non-wood


    Not from trees. Examples of “alternative to fiber to wood” options includes bamboo, palm, and cork.

  • Low Energy

    Low Energy - Local

    Sourced and processed locally within the listed mileage.

  • Low Formaldehyde

    Low Formaldehyde

    Meets German E-1 Standards.

  • No Urea-Formaldehyde

    No Urea-Formaldehyde

    This icon identifies engineered wood flooring products that contain no added urea-formaldehyde.

  • Surface by Nature

    Surface By Nature


  • Natural Coatings

    Natural Finish

    Durable engineered finish made with plant oils and waxes, plus just enough highly refined mineral spirits for easy application. It will never crack, blister, or flake off.

  • Low VOC

    Low VOC

    3rd Party Certified Low-VOC products emit less than .005 PPM (parts per millon) volatile organic compound chemicals.

  • Low VOC

    No VOC

    3rd Party Certified No-VOC products emit less than .001 PPM (parts per million) and do not contain added Formaldehyde.

Ask about our FSC® products