There is an ever-increasing worldwide trend (that’s also gained traction in South Africa), to verify product origin and ensure that it was sustainably sourced and manufactured.
It is no different in the timber industry and South Africans are taking note. It is a fact that many hardwood timbers used in commercial, industrial and domestic external applications are sourced from the tropical rain forests of South America, Asia and Africa. Not only is this a remarkably unsustainable practice; it threatens the continued existence of the planet and we know that product transported over huge distances contributes greatly to the increased carbon emissions we experience today.
It is therefore essential that South Africans should look to local, sustainable timber alternatives such as Rhino Wood; an environmental, social and economical solution to the long-term future of wood and developed by South African entrepreneurs who simply believed that rain forests, the green lungs of the earth, should be left alone.
It was an invention so impressive that Rhino Wood became one of the first three companies in South Africa to receive the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Climate Solvers Award in 2014 – an award that recognises small businesses that are developing and commercialising innovations that reduce carbon emissions and boost energy.
So what is Rhino Wood really?
Is it still natural wood? What does altered or modified mean? Does the process involve harmful chemicals?
Firstly, it’s an innovative South African patented process that gives sustainable softwoods enhanced characteristics in line with the most durable threatened hardwoods.
How does the patented process work?
The first step in the Rhino Wood process is to source local South African pine from sustainable forests. Thereafter the wood is thermally modified using a proprietary, heat treatment procedure that collapses the cells and burns out the sugars and resins that would have made the wood susceptible to rot. Then the thermally modified wood is comprehensively infused with a patented natural non-toxic wax-like compound that pushes out any remaining moisture and fills the voids. This prevents future water absorption that leads to warping and adds hardwood stability, strength and load-bearing capacity to the product. (The compound used is a bi-product usually destined for landfill. By up cycling the compound Rhino Wood further contributes towards environmental stewardship). An additional bonus is that the process prevents termites or woodborers from recognising Rhino Wood as a food source due to the indigestibilty of the compound itself.
The result is that sustainably sourced and manufactured homegrown Rhino Wood offers a viable alternative for both outdoor and indoor applications where product durability and stability is an essential requirement. Rhino Wood is also virtually maintenance free, weathers into a beautiful grey patina and is available in various sizes and finishes to suit different applications and requirements
The architecture and design industries are continuously working on, and debating, a set of criteria to define ‘green’ but what is commonly agreed upon is that all these materials need to have very little to no negative impact on the immediate or global environment. This core requirement makes Rhino Wood the perfect ‘green’ product. Its patented technology increases the life cycle of South Africa’s fast growing and commercially ‘farmed’, coniferous tree species and this assists with carbon sequestration which as we all know is going to be one of the key drivers in the fight against rapid climate change.
Rhino Wood is future-conscious wood: is 100% natural, 100% locally sourced and completely free from harmful chemicals.
The end result is Rhino Wood: 100% natural, free from harmful chemicals and a sustainable replacement for threatened hardwoods.