There cannot be many countries in the world that does not have recycling on its agenda. Clearly, in the UK it is high on our Government’s list. In the timber industry is it really a new thing to do? Or were we really the leaders in recycling?
As a reasonably large Sawmiller and Timber Merchant producing both
sawn and machined timber, we produce resonably large quantities of waste, or how we term them – ‘bi-products’. This means that we have always had to be ‘on the ball’ when it comes to dealing with where we are going to send the bi-product. It just is not logistacally possible to let the waste continue to build up. Nowadays it is not financially, morally or physically possible to send this bi-product to waste tips.
From our point of view we have three areas of bi-product.
- Slabwood – that can be the part round side of a log or a strip of timber from a cut to size job.
- What we refer to as Firewood – smaller pieces that have arrived from jobs being cut to length.
- Wood dust – the result of cutting, planing and sanding timber.
Lets have a look at these three areas.
Slabwood, this product is now sold for woodchip for the fuel industry. Getting chipped into controlled sizes for Heating and (CHP) Combined Heat and Power systems. But what used to happen to it? Well we used to supply it into the chipboard and fibreboard manufacturers also to the paper manufacturers. Some was sold for firewood.
Firewood – small offcuts. Nearly always this was used for ……. yes you guessed it ….. firewood, and still is.
Wood dust – We now send the bullk of this bi-product to be made into pellets for ….. wood fuel. A small amount still is used for animals. Originally the bulk would have been used for animals. About 4 or 5 decades ago there was a time when it was dumped and it had little if no value. Now, we are able to sell it. This one part of our bi-product is the one that we have not always been able to recycle, thankfully now we can.
So, I think that we probably beat the glass recyclers (one of the first to recycle – with the exception of the times of returned beer, lemonade and milk bottles for deposits!!), certainly we have beaten the plastic recyclers and many of the more recent recycling projects.
So, throwing down the challenge, I think the timber industry was probably one of the leaders in recycling, we just didn’t know it. So a leading green industry? I think we must be near the front aren’t we?