A second round of tests is underway to confirm that hazardous treatments in the household waste wood stream are diminishing and are soon likely to disappear altogether.

The Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has launched phase two of the sampling and testing of fence posts and decking as part of its ongoing Waste Wood Classification (WWC) project.

Fence posts and decking are the only wood items in the household waste stream deemed to be potentially hazardous by the regulator.

The first round of testing, carried out at household waste recycling centres in 2019 and 2020, showed an insignificant hazardous content (0.06%) and that this was reducing and not likely to exist at all from 2023.

The second round of testing will involve 13 WRA member companies with around 40 wood recycling sites across the UK who handle wood from households. Operatives at these sites will identify fence posts and decking as part of their inbound protocols before taking samples.

Each site will be collecting at least eight samples over the next six months, with the aim of more than 300 samples being submitted by the Spring. These will then be sent to a UKAS-accredited laboratory for testing and the results analysed through the Hazardous Waste Online tool.

It is hoped the tests will provide further evidence that potentially hazardous treatments are disappearing from circulation. This would mean that fence posts and decking from households would not be subject to hazardous waste controls when the current regulatory position statement governing this material, RPS249, expires in March 2024.

Vicki Hughes, WRA board member and Technical Lead, said: “We are excited to be working with our members on the next phase of testing under our Waste Wood Classification Project. We have had excellent engagement from members across the UK and have also met with all the UK regulators.

“We have already shown that the hazardous content of fence posts and decking is tiny and these tests are expected to confirm this and show that it is reducing and eventually will no longer be there. This is critical to ensure that waste wood that is treated but is not hazardous can continue to be sent for recycling and recovery.”

The WRA is funding the tests and has developed a Quick Guide to make it as easy as possible for operatives to identify target material, take samples and submit them for testing.


The testing of household material comes as tests on potentially hazardous waste wood from construction and demolition activities continue.

These tests are vital to build a clear picture of what material in this waste stream is hazardous. Alongside fence posts and decking, potentially hazardous material in this sector includes certain items from pre-2007 buildings such as tiling battens and external joinery.

Without testing, all this material will have to be treated as hazardous regardless of whether it is or not and will not be deemed suitable for recycling.

Vicki said: “We’re now finding that larger companies are starting to engage as they see the benefit to their customers. By participating they can demonstrate full visibility and duty of care for waste wood and boost their environmental credentials.”

If your company handles wood from construction and demolition activities and would like to find out more, please contact WRA Executive Director Julia Turner at Julia.turner@woodrecyclers.org

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