The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has welcomed a briefing note from the Environment Agency (EA) that calls for higher quality standards.
The EA is concerned that too much material is not properly segregated at processing sites and this is because of a “lack of rigour in visible inspection” when waste wood is sorted into different grades. The agency note also highlights fears that ‘fines’ material, such as wood chips, is being made from contaminated sources.
The EA said: “The information so far provided on the treatments applied to waste wood is insufficient to give us confidence that all Grade A ‘clean timber’ is clean enough to be used for a number of uses.”
The current wood grades are:
- A - ‘visibly clean’ recycled waste wood from packaging, pallets and so on that are unlikely to have been treated in any way.
- B - may contain Grade A wood as well as other waste wood from construction, transfer stations and civic amenity sites.
- C - may contain traces of both other grades, but will predominantly consist of panel products, including ones that have been bonded using heat treatment.
- D - hazardous waste containing wood that has been contaminated by copper, chrome, arsenic or creosote and can only be disposed of by incineration or hazardous waste landfill.
The EA said: “We are aware that there are some wood recyclers who are able to achieve high standards of product and have robust management systems in place to achieve quality output. We will continue to encourage all waste wood recyclers to achieve these standards.”
New executive director Simon Dowson told MRW: “The WRA is continually looking to raise industry standards and welcomes the latest briefing. We look forward to working with the EA to develop an industry best code of practice and to seek new markets for waste wood, particularly fines.”