With the ongoing protests by the incredible school strikers bringing climate change to the top of the political agenda, more and more people are choosing to channel their inner Greta Thunberg and look for ways to make their lives that little bit greener.
From what you eat to how you travel to what you buy for your house, every action is important and that’s why we’ll be looking at whether metal or wood is the more eco-friendly choice for a quality shed. We will examine:
- how the material was created
- how they can be disposed of at the end of their lives
- the products you’ll use to treat the sheds
On the surface, wooden sheds seem like the eco-friendly choice. After all, they are made from a natural, renewable source, and at the end of its life, the shed can theoretically be composted. (I say theoretically because you would need an industrial composter to break down a shed and you might not have access to one.)
However, some problems can occur with wooden sheds. Rot is a major problem, especially with the British weather, and it can be exacerbated by overgrown plants. You can mitigate these by using a waterproof membrane in the base and treating the wood on a regular basis, but the products used to weatherproof wooden sheds can affect the air and the soil, as well as making the wood unsuitable for composting.
Luckily, scientists are trialling new processes using linseed oil and a vinegar by-product that have a low environmental impact and several water-based are available, but they might be more expensive than traditional products.
Steel sheds are generally a low-maintenance choice for your garden, as manufacturers like Quality Steel Sheds pre-treat their products, which will not need any further weatherproofing for years, possibly generations. The best metal sheds also have a 20-year plus guarantee, which means that it’s not just disposed of in a short period of time.
To get the metal in the first place requires mining, which isn’t very green, so it’s better to choose a shed made from recycled materials. (Metal is one of the easiest products to recycle after all.) At the end of its life, the shed can be recycled by your local metal merchant, so nothing will go to landfill.
There are, of course, some issues with metal garden sheds. If you live right by the sea, metal sheds could be at risk of corrosion and some metal panels can be torn off during high winds if you opt for a cheap, low quality shed. It could also be dangerous to store chemicals or combustible materials in metal sheds and the sheds could become too hot during the summer or experience condensation during the winter.
However, if you don’t live right on the shore and you fix the shed panels correctly, there should be no damage to them. If you’re just using the shed to store your lawn furniture and your garden tools, then you don’t need to worry about overheating or condensation.
The most important thing to look for in your garden shed is longevity. If you will only use the shed for a few years before tearing it down, then the eco-credentials of any material will go down considerably. So, pick the one that will suit your long-term needs.