Green Tips: Consider beetle-killed pine for building

Grayson Rae
Green Tips

Are you building a house? Perhaps remodeling your kitchen? If so, consider the most sustainable options for building materials before you begin to help the environment.

Lumber made from wood serves as a great option during a construction project. However, much of the time, the wood that is being used came from alive trees that were helping to provide fresh air and trap harmful carbon. A great alternative type of wood to consider is beetle-killed pine wood. 

Beetle-killed pine trees span across North America, where they host a combination of mountain pine beetles and blue stain fungus.

According to Sustainable Lumber Co., the mountain pine bark beetles “inhabit lodgepole, Scotch, ponderosa and limber pine trees.” The beetles and the blue stain fungus have a symbiotic relationship, which combats the harsh defense mechanisms of the pine trees and causes these trees to die prematurely.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says that the beetles have affected more than 6.3 million acres of land across the dense, forestry regions of the Western states, and Sustainable Lumber Co. estimates it’s “killed over 100 million acres of trees across the U.S. and Canada.”

Why is this relevant to sustainability? Beetle attacks on trees cause massive deforestation and kill many trees that are no longer capable of photosynthesis, which draws carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Although these trees are no longer useful as carbon sinks, they may still serve an even greater purpose of being reused as lumber for everyday building projects. Beetle-killed pine wood can be used as any other type of wood: in cabinets, doors, walls, floors and so much more.

In choosing to purchase beetle-killed pine wood, you are saving the environment by reusing wood that is no longer useful, and potentially even harmful to the environment, considering that these dead trees are great grounds for wildfires to spread.

Even better, Sustainable Lumber Co. states, “If harvested within five years these trees can still be used for wood products and sequester their carbon storage.”

Overall, beetle-killed pine wood is an excellent source of building material for any purpose you need, especially when you are looking for the most sustainable option. 

If you are looking to purchase this product, you can order it online from companies such as Sustainable Lumber Co. and have it shipped. You are also likely to find beetle-killed pine wood at a nearby Home Depot, depending on what’s in stock.

Grayson Rae is a sophomore at Park City High School. Recycle Utah, your community non-profit drop-off recycling center, provides these weekly tips. Visit their website for more information:


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