Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Wood, the local tip and climate change


How long does paper last?

A young Sydney researcher has been digging up landfill sites, and has shown that burying wood products, such as floor boards and furniture, can effectively prevent them from contributing to global warming.

The work shows that timber can be a greenhouse friendly material, if the products are properly disposed of at the end of their life.

For the past five years, Fabiano Ximenes and colleagues from the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Accounting have been following what happens to carbon when the wood in trees is harvested, milled, used in products, and then discarded at the end of its service life.

Fabiano is one of 13 early-career researchers who have presented their work to the public and media for the first time thanks to Fresh Science, a national program. One of the Fresh Scientists will win a trip to the UK courtesy of the British Council to present his or her work to the Royal Institution.

To complete their study, they had to retrieve a wide variety of wood products buried in landfill for up to 46 years.

They then analysed them to check how much carbon was stored and how much released to the atmosphere as greenhouse gas.

They found that carbon is stored in wood products for much longer than previously thought. “We found magazine articles that we could still read clearly. Many of the wood products were still in very sound condition,” Ximenes says.

Australians dump about 4.5 million tonnes of wood and paper products in landfill each year. Greenhouse gas emissions from the decay of this material had previously been estimated as equivalent to 8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year—about the same as the combined emissions from all the aircraft and trains in Australia.

“But we found that a maximum of only 3.5 per cent of the carbon originally in the wood had been lost through decomposition to carbon dioxide and methane."

"Previous estimates assumed decomposition rates of between 20 and 25 per cent based on experiments conducted in the laboratory under optimised conditions, which are clearly very different from actual landfill.”

The data gathered by the dump diggers is being used by the Australian Greenhouse Office, and has generated scientific and industry interest in Australia and abroad.

Fabiano Ximenes is an employee of the NSW Department of Primary Industries and worked with DPI researchers on this project. The research was funded by the CRC for Greenhouse Accounting, in which NSW DPI is a partner.

Niall Byrne | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Oasis of life in the ice-covered central Arctic

24.10.2016 | Earth Sciences

‘Farming’ bacteria to boost growth in the oceans

24.10.2016 | Life Sciences

Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

24.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>