Levels of wood waste arisings are lower than expected but the new figure is a welcome clarification for the wood recycling industry, according to the Wood Recyclers Association.
The Waste and Resources Action Programmes recent report Wood Waste Market in the UK, which was published last week, (see MRW story) found that wood arisings stood at an estimated 4.5 to 4.6 million tonnes. While WRAPs 2005 report states that the total use of wood products is just over nine million tonnes.
Wood Recyclers Association secretary Peter Butt said: WRAPs figure of 4.6m tonnes will take some by surprise, as it is much lower than the 5-6m tonnes that had become generally accepted in the industry. However, this study was conducted with great care, and it is encouraging that both the top-down and bottom-up approaches achieved such similar results.
Furthermore, the research took place in the teeth of a deep recession. We are delighted that we can now work with a much more realistic figure than before.
In the report, WRAP points out that the substantially low figure could be a result of a lack of data from the construction sector and the current economic climate, which may also have affected the estimate of wood waste arisings from the construction and demolition sectors.
Hadfield Wood Recyclers director Vicki Hughes said: From our perspective the report was quite accurate and well researched. There has been an awful lot of misinformation about wood waste arisings in the UK.
With biomass plants that have already been announced and the existing plants in operation, this report gives investors a credible source to assess if there is enough feedstock in the various locations.
Additionally, WRAP believes national wood waste generation could reduce by 14 per cent from its peak ahead of the recession but the Green Waste Company says it has experienced a worse fall in wood arisings.
Director Felicity Richards commented: We can now compare our figures with the national picture but this figure does not reflect the very high levels of change that we have seen in our business.
We found the volume of material coming into the site from construction and demolition slowed much faster than the demand from the board manufacturers, initially. The board manufacturers indicated to us the weak pound had led to an increased export market for board, but that position has changed and that market now shows the same huge downturn.