When we talk about living sustainably, we usually think of the food we eat, the car we drive and how much we recycle. But only a few of us ever consider if the furniture we use in our homes is created sustainably.
The furniture manufacturing industry often favours aesthetics over sustainability and our environmental ecosystems.
But things are changing – consumers today want to choose more eco-friendly alternatives. They want to buy wood furniture and other materials that have been sourced in a responsible manner. Does mango wood fit this sustainable bill?
To give you the short answer, yes mango wood is sustainable. The mango wood trees main role is to produce fruit. The tree is only used for its wood once it stops producing mangos and begins to die. Over its lifespan, the mango tree captures and stores plenty of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Keep reading to learn more about mango wood and its environmental impact!
What is Mango Wood?
Mangifera Indica is the scientific name for the mango tree. It’s usually found throughout South East Asia, India and Australia. However, you can also find mango plantations in Kenya, Brazil and South America – I’ve walked through one in Peru!
The trees within mango plantations can grow up to 100 feet tall. Although they’re grown primarily for the delicious mango fruit, they usually stop producing quality mangos after 7 years.
Once this starts to happen, the trees are taken down and the beautiful wood is harvested.
Mango wood is mostly used as a substitute for maple and oak. As the wood is a secondary product from the fruit industry, it has major benefit to environmental sustainability.
Is mango wood a hardwood?
Since sustainable mango wood contains strong, dense grains, it’s considered a hardwood.
It’s less expensive than other hardwood species but has similar qualities, strength and longevity. Thanks to the dense grains, the wood does not deteriorate quickly.
If you care for it properly, your mango wood furniture can last many decades.
Uses of Mango Wood
This sustainable furniture wood is simple to work with, making it a preferred choice over other hardwood types.
It’s soft, easy to cut and shape, and can also be carved with more perfection than other hardwoods. this is great for creating bespoke furniture designs. Even better, it’s also water-resistant meaning it can be used for outdoor furniture.
Natural mango wood can be used to make all sorts of items including:
- Window frames
- Wall paneling
- Coffee tables and kitchen tables
- Kitchen utensils, chopping boards and trays
- Musical instruments
Although mango wood is already relatively strong, you can protect it’s strength and durability through regular cleaning and polishing.
Advantages of Mango Wood Furniture
There are many benefits to using mango wood for furniture, including:
- Environmentally friendly
- Physical properties and appearance
Mango wood is a strong hardwood (equivalent to ash and oak), making it ideal for producing hard-wearing furniture designs. It gives your furniture a natural protective finish that lasts for a long time.
A mango tree matures after around 15 years. At this point, they start to yield less fruit or stop entirely.
Mango farmers plant new trees every 7 to 15 years before the mature trees die, creating a sustainable cycle of planting and harvesting. Only the less ‘fruitful’ trees are cut down to make mango wood products.
This is a good example of sustainable agroforestry.
Mango wood is environmentally friendly since the trees are cut down for timber only after they stop growing fruits.
Mango trees also absorb CO2 from the atmosphere throughout their lifetime, releasing oxygen back out.
Physical properties and appearance
Due to its unusual grain structure and patterns, mango wood is an outstanding product.
It also has a superb yet unusual golden brown colour with hints of yellow, pink, or black streaks.
More extreme colour changes can occur thanks to a fungal infection. This is known as spalting. Spalted mango wood has light beige and black streaks. This makes the wood softer but it’s quite a favourite with craftsmen. It generally features a variety of rotting scars and knots that look attractive on their own after they are polished and waxed.
Mango wood stains very well and retains its colour for a long period. The deep, dark hue that you get from the stain gives the furniture an amazing appeal. It also looks lovely with different finishing styles, like hand-burning.
How to Maintain Mango Wood Furniture
Mango wood is water-resistant and durable.
Due to the nature of the wood, it must be polished and moisturised, especially when subjected to warm temperatures, to avoid dehydration.
Even though mango wood is water-resistant, keep it dry. Use a sponge to remove water from the surface.
Keep in mind to always use a moist towel to clean it. Avoid using harsh detergents or other ammonia-containing solutions for cleaning.
Also, avoid using rough cleaning brushes and plastic or chemical-infused cleaning agents.
Use wax or a natural mineral oil, such as linseed or tung oil, to protect your mango wood. You can find more info on eco wood treatments and natural preservatives here.
Final Thoughts on Mango Wood Sustainability
Mango wood is proving popular in the furniture business. Its reputation among furniture designers and home onwers is increasing all the time.
This wood is inexpensive yet of comparable quality to more costly types of wood. You can use it not only to make high-quality furniture but also to maintain the elegance of the wood itself.
Mango wood is almost a by-product after the tree has stopped fruiting. This is an effective environmental strategy and for this reason mango wood is sustainable.
If you liked that, read more on material sustainability here…