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April 06, 2017, 09:06 AM

Verifying the authenticity of reclaimed materials

By Michael Morel

Salvo Code symbol @ Salvo

Hand Hewn 100 year old barnwood Pike Road Millwork

London West, UK - Forests across the world are annihilated to feed the world's appetite for mass produced, disposable furniture. Buying reclaimed wood keeps existing trees alive, even if they were not grown sustainably. Right?

Not necessarily.

Sadly, the authenticity of an item's reclaimed status is not guaranteed and most shoppers simply take an antiques dealer at their word (I know I have). As the trend for salvage grows, so does the incentive to exploit the good intentions of conscious consumers. Sometimes building materials are "reclaimed" unwillingly. Or to put it another way, stolen. Equally disturbing, new timber is sometimes treated to appear reclaimed, and some of it has even been illegally logged.

These stories can be discouraging. Remember when shopping was simple? How can we verify an item's origin?

Daunting as it may seem, other industries show a way forward. Much as an organic label indicates certain production standards for agricultural goods, efforts are in motion to reliably identify legitimate salvaged goods as such.

Salvo's had a role in this effort for over twenty years first by introducing the Salvo Code in 1995 and more recently by developing the Truly Reclaimed wood mark concept.

Symbolized by the crane image, the Salvo Code is a standard adopted by over 150 antiques and reclaimed materials dealers pledging to never trade in stolen goods, to track an item's history of ownership, and to sell material free of toxic chemicals. Several other commitments within the code combine to make it easier for buyers and sellers alike to have greater confidence in their goods' origins.

In 2016 Salvo and the Building Research Establishment Ltd (BRE) began exploring the feasibility of the tentatively named Truly Reclaimed wood mark. Designed to address the declining supply of reclaimed wood in the midst of its increasing popularity, the symbol would create incentive to save and reuse wood while helping to expose both legal and fraudulent imitations. A study to determine the workability of this concept is underway.

Making the transition to a sustainable economy is a major challenge but lessons can from be adapted from other industries. In an effort to encourage this synergy, Salvo Fair's 2017 Green Living theme will feature sustainable fashion stands and a zero waste restaurant alongside reclaimed materials and antiques dealers. Find out more at the Salvo Fair 2017 website.

Salvo Fair 2017
Salvo Code dealer list

Story Type:  News

ID: 99666

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