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Wood. The all-purpose material.

You’ll find wood in just about everything. Wood as we know it today is an integral part of our homes, tools and fireplaces. But you’d be surprised to hear that it’s a big part of so much more.

To understand the source of wood’s versatility, it’s essential to understand that it’s the composition of wood that makes it such a go-to material. Organic compounds such as cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and taxane, once extracted, can be used in a wide range of products. Here’s a sample:

Ping-pong balls

It may be hard to believe, but the thing that enables a small empty ball to bounce from one end of the ping-pong table to the other, is in fact, wood. Or more precisely, the wood component, cellulose. Easy to mould, it comes from a mixture of nitrocellulose and plant-based plasticizer camphor.

Fun fact: The racket with which you hit the ball is also made out of wood. Making it without a doubt a real hit for fans of this all-purpose material.

Shampoo

Think wood. Think fluidity. This time, it’s the difficult to pronounce wood component named “lignin” that is routinely added to shampoos for them to maintain their liquid and homogeneous state. Also known as the “Natural Glue”, lignin is indispensable when it comes to binding and stabilizing substances that are otherwise difficult to combine.

Paint

Do you know how they create and preserve the texture of paint that covers your walls? One word: hydroxyethylcellulose. This natural wood-based gel and thickener can be found in a variety of household products such as toothpaste and cosmetics, as well as in a variety of paints, including splash proof paint. Which doesn’t mean you’ll actually spill less, but at least, you’ll get less on you.

Animal food

To feed our four-legged friends right, we need to give them the right nutrients. The problem, however, is that many of these nutrients exist in the form of granules which are difficult to chew. Which is why adding a binder is necessary to make for a consistent blend. This is where wood comes in. Derived from wood lignin, linosulphites bind and lubricate animal food, in addition to reducing the energy consumption required for the presses that compact the food.

Chemotherapy

Armed with superpowers that enable them to block cell division, taxanes are crucial organic compounds when it comes to treating cancer. Made from yew trees, a family of coniferous trees growing in Quebec, these chemotherapeutic agents represent a significant local contribution to the treatment of the disease.

Surprising, isn’t it? It goes without saying that wood is everywhere and plays an integral role in our daily lives, making it a natural resource that requires the responsible management of our forests. A truly precious material that must always be protected.

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