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What Is Carbon Capture?

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) describes the process of capturing and storing carbon dioxide CO2, before it is released into the atmosphere where it contributes towards the greenhouse effect.

Greenhouse gases are gaseous compounds within the earth’s atmosphere, capable of absorbing infrared radiation. The primary greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide, water vapour, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. These gases trap and retain the heat in the atmosphere - the higher the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the greater the increase of heat retained, resulting in the greenhouse effect and global warming.

Greenhouse gases occur naturally, without them the earth would be an icy place incapable of hosting life – however, in recent years due to human activity the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have increased rapidly to detrimental levels and notably so CO2. Although CO2 is emitted through a variety of natural sources, it is the primary greenhouse gas emitted through human activities, principally through burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased considerably.

Carbon and Carbon Dioxide – What’s The Difference?

When discussing harmful emissions, global warming and carbon footprint, the word carbon is often used as an abbreviation for carbon dioxide. Technically, this is not the same thing as carbon, and can lead to confusion. Carbon is a non-metal element, it exists in pure form such as graphite, graphene, and diamond, but can also combine with other elements to form molecules. At room temperature carbon is in a solid state. Most types of fossil fuels for example, are made up of hydrocarbons – these are molecules of hydrogen and carbon. Carbon dioxide is produced when an atom of carbon joins with two atoms of oxygen - CO2. When referring to a carbon footprint, this describes the total amount of greenhouse gases released during any given activity.

stacking animals

Reducing Carbon Emissions

There are many ways in which governments and individuals can help to reduce their carbon footprint such as reducing air travel and car journeys, ensuring that homes and workspaces are energy efficient, switching to renewable energy sources, eating less beef and planting trees – deforestation is a significant cause of carbon emissions. 

Why Are Trees So Important?

Harmful pollutants are absorbed by trees through their leaves and bark, including carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, the tree then releases clean oxygen which we use to breathe. Trees also support biodiversity – a single tree can be home to hundreds of different forms of life, including a wide array of animals, insects, fungus, and other plants. The sophisticated root systems of trees play a key role in slowing down the absorption of water into the ground, helping to prevent natural disasters such as floods and landslides caused during heavy rainfall.

Trees and other plants also produce food, medicines and raw materials used for shelter and across a variety of different industries. In densely populated urban areas, trees are not only highly beneficial for mental wellbeing, but also serve to lower the overall local ambient temperatures, helping to prevent overheating. 

How Does Wood Capture Carbon?

Trees and plants absorb sunlight, water, and CO2 and convert into energy via a chemical process known as photosynthesis, which enables them to grow. The CO2 is retained within the tree - one cubic metre of wood holds approximately one tonne of carbon dioxide; according to statistics from The Timber Trade Federation:

In 2016 EU forests provided a net sink of 424 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent, around 10% of the EU’s total GHG emissions, demonstrating the potential of timber to mitigate carbon emissions. These forests are almost 100% certified sustainable, and with good forest management and governance should grow rather than shrink over the next decade.”

This absorption of carbon dioxide plays a vital role in counterbalancing the excessive quantity of harmful co2 emissions as a result of human activity, with deforestation leading to devastating consequences. A NASA-led study indicated that tropical forests may be responsible for absorbing even more carbon dioxide than previously imagined, making sustainable forestry and reforestation essential in reducing harmful greenhouse gases.

Repurposed Wood

Repurposed wood describes wood which has reached the end of its natural lifecycle – rather than being destroyed, this wood is utilised for another purpose and given a second life.  Wood stores CO2 – therefore when it reaches the end of its natural lifecycle, its stored CO2 is released back into the atmosphere, this may occur via natural decomposition into the ground or if and when the wood is burnt. Burning wood is not a carbon neutral activity, during the process the wood releases all the carbon dioxide it has captured over its life cycle back into the atmosphere in one short burst.

stacking vegetables

Our Commitment To Carbon Capture and Sustainability

Our wooden toys are made from repurposed rubber wood. The rubberwood is sustainably produced and cultivated in forests protected by Sucofindo Timber Legality certification, regular inspections and audits ensure that sustainable and ethical forest management practices are upheld as well as preventing illegal logging and the illegal selling of wood. When the rubberwood tree reaches the end of its natural rubber producing lifecycle, instead of being destroyed and emitting CO2, it is crafted into long lasting wooden toys which can be enjoyed by the future generations. Currently 60% of our toys are made from repurposed, legally certified Indonesian rubberwood and since 2021, the remaining 40% of our wood is made from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood – an organisation dedicated to the protection and the promotion of forest conservation, the rights of workers, communities and indigenous populations.

We support various conservation projects across the globe, helping to raise awareness and actively contribute to worthy causes such as One Tree Planted, a non-profit organisation dedicated to reforestation and repairing damage caused by industry and resource extraction. Donations go towards specific replanting projects and a tree is planted for every 1 dollar donated. Here in the UK, Le Toy Van have recently partnered with conversation and reforestation project, Charlton Estate which manages and protects 78 hectares of woodland and wildlife, we have committed to extending the project by a further 15 hectares.

Le Toy Van also aims to be 100% plastic free by 2023 and is already taking steps towards achieving its goal, targeting single-use plastic as a priority by removing plastic windows and inserts and moving towards recyclable and compostable cardboard boxes.

Our wooden toys are designed under a rigorous process which ensures durability, longevity as well as safety for small young hands. They come packed with engaging and mentally stimulating features, providing hours of entertainment and enjoyment. For more information on our products and services, get in touch today.

@letoyvantoys

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