Columbia Forest Products Converting to Soy-Based Plywood Adhesive

PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--April 25, 2005--Columbia Forest Products has begun the conversion of veneer-core hardwood plywood plants to formaldehyde-free manufacturing, using a patented, soy-based adhesive cooperatively developed by Columbia, Oregon State University, and Hercules Incorporated. The new adhesive, soy flour-based, will allow Columbia to completely eliminate formaldehyde from its veneer-core and Woodstalk(R) agrifiber-core panel products.

Urea formaldehyde (UF), as currently used in the majority of plywood panels, is classified by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), as "carcinogenic to humans."

Founded in 1957, Columbia Forest Products is North America's largest manufacturer of hardwood plywood and hardwood veneer. Employee-owned and based in Portland, Oregon, Columbia employs more than 3,000 and operates facilities in locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Great combination: price and performance competitive product, using Smartwood certified, sustainable feedstock, home-sourced production (helping sustain Oregon jobs), and reduced occupational and customer toxic exposures.

Think about what this means for LEEDs certified Green Building standards.

Think about what this means for workers and communities who will no longer be exposed to formaldehyde, while making all that lovely plywood need for TreeHugger furniture.

This example also offers strong evidence of how truly misquided are the StinkTank "experts" and op ed writers who argue almost daily that environmental and safety improvements only detract from the bottom line, or are somehow against "free market principles". It's offered to us TreeHugger customers with no involvement from the Federal level, 'thank you very much'.

Columbia also gets an economic boost by avoiding the constant operating expenses of treating air emission stacks to scrub or combust formaldehyde gases, by no longer having to remove dissolved formaldehyde from wet discharges, and by reducing adverse health impact potentional for its workers and neighbors.

Perhaps ironically for some TreeHuggers, this shows the potential of green product innovation, in this case from a consortia that includes the chemical industry, Hercules Inc , to keep good jobs here in the US.

You may be wondering if GM soy product will be in the supply chain. Perfection is appreciated but, on balance, not worth depreciating progress at this level. Hail Columbia!

by: John Laumer

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