Sustainable disposal of waste timber


The challenge

Our Partners’ businesses create large amounts of waste engineered and treated timber. The key volume areas are MDF, chipboard and wood treated with preservatives, with laminated timber contributing a smaller volume.

The Partners must comply with the regulations that restrict recycling or reuse of wood that is considered hazardous, such as any wood treated with chemicals. This makes sustainable disposal a challenging prospect.

Waste wood is currently sent for incineration with energy recovery. Some wood is donated for reuse to local causes and there are efforts to reduce the amount of waste created in the first place.

The Partners are keen to reduce the cost of disposal and, more importantly, the waste of precious resources.

The solutions we are seeking

In the UK this is an industry-wide challenge and presents an exciting opportunity for innovators. The Partners are interested in investigating innovative solutions for disposal of waste treated wood which comply with UK regulations and are more sustainable.

There is a significant cost associated with the disposal of treated timber, therefore any solution that reduces or eliminates treated timber going to incineration, which is either cost neutral or positive, is a clear opportunity.

The Partners dispose of thousands of tonnes of timber every year, across a range of sites. They are therefore open to both localised solutions and scalable ones.

There is also interest in seeing how this material could be reused in products, to provide a closed loop scenario. It is likely that solutions may require increased sorting of wood types, and the Partners are open to this.

Any solution must demonstrate the ability to work within the current UK waste infrastructure and government policy and should show that it is futureproof.

Selection criteria

Cost comparable to the current disposal mechanism.

Ability for the solution to be collaborative with the Partner organisations, with expertise and support provided by the innovator.

Either mature or early stage technology.

Payback of 6-12 months.