A tree native to mountainous regions from North America to Asia, cedar is known for its strong properties. There are many species of cedar but western red is commonly used for gardening purposes.
- Whilst native to areas outside of the UK, the species was introduced to Britain, planted in the UK for timber. British red cedar wood will be locally sourced and reduce emissions in terms of transport.
- Whilst some species of cedar are endanger, the western red cedar in Britain is not.
- The wood is durable and naturally resistant to fungi, due to natural preservatives.
- Cedar woods can be found FSC certified.
- The wood is usually reasonably priced.
- Imported red cedar tends to be more durable than locally sourced, but not by too much. Imports will also have more impact on the environment due to the amount they will travel.
- Cedar imported from non-certified sources and from abroad may have further environmental impacts, threatening habitats along with indigenous cultures.
This material is man-made, usually using kaolin (china clay), but it can also be made from ball clay. Other materials include glass, felspar etc. It is known for its low permeability, high strength and white colour -- and is often used in sustainable landscaping.
- Kaolin can be mined in the UK, particularly in the south west, in counties such as Cornwall. (ref) This means that the kaolin does not need to travel far if it is manufactured and purchased in the UK. A lot is extracted in the UK, and less than12% of kaolin is used for paving tiles. (ref)
- Some waste products from the extraction can be used for other endeavours, such as aggregates. (ref)
- In the UK, the environment agency works with kaolin producing companies to ensure their environmental impact is lessened, by restricting water usage etc. (ref)
- Porcelain is durable and not as porous as other rocks, reducing the amount of water that will go through it.
- It keeps itself clean, no moss will grow on the material which will mean less water and chemicals needed to maintain the paving.
- A lot of waste can be made from the extraction of kaolin. For every tone of kaolin, nine tonnes of waste rock and mica are left behind. (ref)
- Hydraulic pressure is usually used in the extraction, this uses a lot of water. (ref) Along with this, a lot of energy can be used to move the water in the mine. (ref)
- The mining process removes topsoil but also uses explosives to access the mineral. (ref)
- The clay can be purchased from further afield, such as Italy, India or China. These imports will require energy to transport them to the UK and this has the potential to emit a lot of CO2.
- To make the clay, it needs to be heated in a kiln, these can get to temperatures in the thousands of degrees celsius and some glazing requires porcelain to go into a kiln multiple times. (ref) Depending on the fuel used, this can have a massive carbon footprint.
- Most outdoor porcelain is imported from Italy or China.
Derived from china clay (kaolin), Porcelain's raw material is mined from a quarry, and this process can have major implications for the environment, however, the quarries in the UK works with the Environment Agency to reduce its impact on the environment. This means that UK china clay is less impactful than other places, but the fact it will not need to travel too far will also benefit the environment. Despite this, it is key to remember that kaolin mining is a wasteful industry, producing a lot of waste products. Along with this, large amounts of water and energy are required to obtain the clay. Water is a limited resource, and needs to be conserved to ensure its sustainability, hydraulic pressure mining uses a large amount of water that could be used for other purposes. Depending on the fuel source, the energy required for Porcelain can pollute massively. Alternates to man made Porcelain can be seen from natural rocks, Granite, Sandstone or Marble, for a similar colour and look.