The amount of waste wood processed in the UK rose again last year to 3.98 million tonnes, an increase of just over 6% on the previous 12 months.

As predicted, UK exports of waste wood dropped dramatically by 39%, from 313,000 tonnes across the UK as a whole to 190,000. And waste wood going into Chapter IV biomass rose as expected by almost 14% to 2.39 million tonnes.

The figures are released today by the Wood Recyclers’ Association following an annual survey of its members.

The survey showed WRA members alone processed more than 3.5 million tonnes of waste wood in 2019 compared to 3.4 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of 4.3%. 

The Association, which represents 90% of the waste wood market, estimates this would take the UK’s total waste wood processing figure to 3.98 million tonnes.

Julia Turner, Executive Director of the WRA, said it is encouraging as we come out of lockdown to see that our market continued to grow last year and was in a healthy position at the end of 2019.

“We hope that such a healthy end to 2019 will stand us in good stead for surviving the impact of Covid-19, and are thrilled to see that with an estimated 4.5 million tonnes of waste wood available in the UK, so much of it is now being recycled or reprocessed,” said Julia.

Other keys findings of the survey included:

  • The amount of waste wood processed into the panel board industry rose by 6% among WRA members, equating to an increase of around 12% across the UK as a whole.
  • The amount of waste wood processed into animal bedding, equine surfaces and other recycled products dropped by almost 5% among WRA members, equating to an estimated decrease of 18% across the UK as a whole.
  • The amount of waste wood processed into small scale biomass increased by almost 39% across the UK.

Julia added: “We suspect there is a correlation between the decrease in waste wood being processed into animal bedding and the increase into panel board and small scale biomass, as both of these use Grade A packaging materials.

“We are also seeing a realisation of imports of waste wood starting and estimate around 20,000 tonnes came into the UK last year. We expect that to continue to grow this year.”

 

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