CRISIS IN SRI LANKA AND SUBSTITUTION THROUGH
WOOD COMPOSITE MATERIALS
M B Herath
Timber is one of the most important raw materials used by man even before
the bronze age. In contrast to other materials, timber is known as a living
material, and substitution of timber with any other commodity is not an
easy proposition. Demand of timber in Sri Lanka is increasing annually.
It is distressing to find that in Sri Lanka losses account for more than
40% during the processing of logs to sawn timber.
The conversion of wood waste into composite materials presents one of
the best technological solutions available in order to reduce this loss.
Timber waste can be converted into several composite materials like lamin
wood, blockboard, cemboard etc.. There are several national benefits in
the use of lamin wood: savings in the countries gross timber consumption,
reduction of environmental problems and saving of foreign exchange. Laminated
timber can be manufactured to substitute massive wood beams using low
grade timber and wood waste.
However, one major problem prevents the setting up of such an industry
in Sri Lanka. The industry does not offer a sufficiently high profile
for the investor as the capital investment required is high.
Hence government support for such an enterprise is necessary. The national
interest requires a government policy to embark on such a project, particularly
when considering the environmental and waste minimisation aspects. Work
was carried out and sufficient data is available to commence a pilot plant
for the manufacture of laminated timber if interest is shown by an entrepreneur.
Currently, negotiations are in progress to start an industry to manufacture
usable panel-like materials using wood waste with a cooperative society
of timber industrialist in Moratuwa. Here interest is shown not only on
profit but on minimising waste reducing environmental pollution etc.
Department of Forestry and Environmental Science,
of Sri Jayewardenepura,Sri Lanka. 1999. All rights reserved.