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Skip companies have been struggling to recycle wood recently, and it is only getting harder, with the environment agency placing restrictions on stockpiling.
The government has been conducting a review of Waste Policy in England and has been consulting on introducing a restriction on the land filling of wood waste. Although for now they have decided to not implement this, I suspect that somewhere down the line this would be introduced. This would cause great problems, especially as recently we have had a real problem of disposing of our wood waste across the country. To implement a ban they would need to ensure we can recycle wood all year round and not just in the winter when it is greater in demand. It does not help that England only has two wood fired power plants.
Met Office figures suggest 2014 has seen the mildest January to October period since records began in 1910. Wasn’t it wonderful we hear everyone cry. Well, yes it was nice to have some decent weather for a change, but this has produced an unwanted ‘side-effect’ for many businesses in the Waste Management & Recycling industry. There is a massive excess of waste wood! With less and less people burning wood to keep warm and large stock-piles in Europe there is currently a lack of demand for this waste material. This effecting all types and grades of wood including : Soft & Hard wood, Painted Timber, Ply, Chip & Fibre board, MDF, Laminate, Fencing, OSB, Sleepers and Pallets etc.
Wood, as a waste product can now account for up to 70 – 100% of the contents of certain skips. Some facilities do have the correct systems and exemptions in place to enable them to burn ‘clean’ un-treated timber to produce heating and water for the premises. Obviously this can help reduce the amount of waste wood that in the current climate often ends up at Landfill. This is NOT what we want to see happening.
A large majority of the wood that we are finding in skips is not clean ‘A’ grade, but ‘B,C & D’ grade. These materials need to go on to be further recycled by specialists in the industry. This is where the problem arises, until further notice, all of the major players like Hadfield Wood Recyclers and UK Wood Recycling have shut their gates to all but contracted customers like local authorities. The reason for this is lack of demand and restrictions imposed by the Environment Agency (due to combustion hazards) This actually means that there are no current means to recycle wood waste for the smaller business. The only option for the processing of wood waste is to send it to landfill, this is not good for the Environment, for the pockets of the customer. Properly separated and sorted wood waste is cheaper to dispose of at the relevant facility and better for the Environment, than sending it to landfill. If the lack of demand for this waste product continues, skip hire prices will surely increase to reflect this. So, whilst we have all enjoyed the wonderful weather this year, it’s now time to welcome the colder spells with open arms. The sooner it gets nice and cold, the sooner the wood stock piles will start to disappear. Our wood waste will once again be loved and maybe if it’s lucky it will end up as some animal bedding, equestrian surfacing or as a nice new covering for a childrens’ playground.