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Wood waste is a precious resource that is abundantly available and can be used either for material recycling or energy production, depending on the quality grade.
The term “waste wood” includes all woods and wood-based products that have come to the end of their product lifespan and therefore fall under the definition of waste.
Wood waste recycling is the process of turning waste wood into usable products.
Products generated from scrap wood recycling are used in such sectors as paper production, panel board production, wood pellets, energy production, and more.
The rising cost of waste material disposal and a growing consciousness for the environment also contribute to the increasing importance of waste wood recycling.
A common belief is that by recycling wood waste, the demand for "green timber" will fall and this will benefit the environment.
Table of content:
Can wood be recycled?
Yes, most wood waste can be reused as building material, recycled into mulch for landscaping or pulp for paper production and used profitably as a fuel. Also, reusing and recycling woods reduces the need to cut down trees.
How to recycle wood?
The key to recycling wood is learning how to differentiate between the different types of wood products so you can recycle those that are able to be recycled. The specific wood waste recycling process varies depending upon the type of products being recycled by wood recycling centers and the technologies that are employed. Particularly clean waste wood can be recycled and reused as a new product.
When recycling waste wood, it must be processed in several stages – mostly including these steps:
- Receipt, weighing and quality control
- Sorting in accordance with the waste wood grades
- Primary shredding
- Separating of recyclable material (e.g. metals)
- Secondary (fine) shredding/granulating
Recycled wood grades:
- Grade A: “Clean” recycled wood – material produced from pallets and secondary manufacture etc and suitable for producing animal bedding and mulches.
- Grade B: Industrial feedstock grade – including grade A material plus construction and demolition waste, this is suitable for making panelboard.
- Grade C: Fuel grade – this is made from all of the above material plus that from municipal collections and civic amenity sites and can be used for biomass fuel.
- Grade D: Hazardous waste – This includes all grades of wood including treated material such as fencing and trackwork and requires disposal at special facilities.
(Many wood recycling companies simply define wood waste as ‘clean’, ‘dirty’ – or mixed).
Wood waste management advantages
Successful wood waste management practices and strategies are developed to reduce environmental impacts, save costs and to provide new opportunities.
Environmental impact - The first and most important benefit of wood recycling is saving the trees. Wood recycling also helps reduce environmental impact by preventing less trash from ending up in the landfills.
Reduction energy costs - Wood waste recycling helps reduce energy costs. When products are made out of virgin materials, energy is expended to extract and process these materials, and that includes burning fossil fuels.
New opportunities - Wood waste recycling provides opportunities that keep up with evolving customer demand for recycled products, for example, the expanding avenue of renewable power in the form of biofuel. The sources for biomass feedstock include industrial wood waste, lumber yards, industry wood residues, urban tree waste, and municipal solid wood waste, including construction and demolition debris.
Wood recycling companies
Wood recycling companies differ in the ranges of products they make from waste wood, but the most common products are feedstock for panel board, animal beddings (from clean wood) and biomass fuel. Each wood recycling center will be able to provide more information on their products.
Where to recycling wood?
Wood waste is not accepted in your household recycling bin, but you can take it to most household waste recycling facility. We recommend checking with your local community in the first instance.
Articles about Wood Recycling
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