Some manufacturers who need a long lasting storage and shipping solution will turn to non-biodegradable packaging, such as plastic, assuming its lifespan is much longer than a wooden box. But did you know that wood can last for centuries? It’s true. Earth’s most valuable renewable resource does not decay when we treat it right.
According to a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report titled Build Green: Wood Can Last for Centuries, decay is caused by microscopic thread-like fungi that attack the thick cell walls of wood. To live, decay fungi need four things:
- Favorable Temperatures
- Suitable Food Material
If the other conditions are right, fungi get their food from (you guessed it) wood! According to the report, “controlling their growth usually results from depriving fungi of the one condition that is simple to control—water. However, water by itself does not decay wood.”
Surprisingly, moist wood is actually more likely to decay. The reason for this is “the spores (like seeds of a flowering plant) from which decay fungi grow and attach wood cells are everywhere in the environment. If provided with enough moisture, these fungi will destroy the cell walls and weaken wood.”
In the advanced stages of decay, fungi produce fruiting bodies (better known as mushrooms) on wood. You’ve seen them jutting out of the sides of trees, right? Well, according to the USDA report, “each fruiting body produces billions of spores that, when released, are blown about by the wind. If they land on moist wood, they may begin growing and start the decay process again.”
To protect your wooden boxes, containers or other objects from water, moisture and decay for long life you can:
- Use a coating that forms a moisture-impervious film, such as paints and varnishes, while keeping the seal at wood junctures intact
- Use preservative-treated wood
- Reduce moisture in your facility, storage areas, or other places where wooden boxes are kept
- Install special sheeting or covers
- Utilize desiccants, moisture absorbing technology and other anti-corrosion methods.
Wood boxes prove themselves to be a good investments over plastic packaging for their refurbishing opportunities as well. Wood elements of a package can easily be replaced no matter where you are in the world! Additionally, the cost of refurbishing typically doesn't exceed half the cost of a brand new container.