Memorandum from Waste and Resources Action
WRAP welcomes the opportunity to submit comments
to the Select Committee's Inquiry into the Governments role in
promoting the use of timber from sustainable sources.
The Waste and Resources Action Programme, WRAP,
has been created by Government to work with industry, the public
sector and the wider community, to promote sustainable waste management
by creating markets for recycled products and materials by tackling
barriers to the use of these materials. Our mission is to promote
more efficient and stable markets for secondary materials and
products and improve resource efficiency.
One of WRAP's key programmes addresses Wood
recycling. Whilst forestry management can play a significant role
in the renewal of timber, recovery and recycling can also offer
vast scope to maximise the potential use of resources. Although
our work does not look specifically at the issue of sustainably
managed forests and Government procurement of timber from such
source, WRAP's wood programme aims to reduce the pressure on primary
resources by returning wood waste back to the productive economy
and delivering greater overall resource efficiency.
Excluding recycled wood and waste paper, it
is estimated that 46.7 million cubic metres of timber were consumed
in the UK in 1999. Of the 2.5 million tonnes of wood waste estimated
to be produced from the construction and demolition industries,
around 1.2 million tonnes is regarded as reclaimable, of which
it is estimated that more than 300,000 tonnes is currently recycled
or reclaimed. Waste wood, from the municipal waste stream and
collected at civic amenity sites, is estimated to be 280,000 tonnes
or 7 per cent of all civic amenity site waste. It is also estimated
that a further 140,000 tonnes is collected through household refuse
collections. Estimates suggest that over 90 per cent is landfilled
or incinerated and less than 10 per cent is reused or recycled.
WRAP is committed to increasing the recycling
of wood and wood based materials by industry in the UK and, to
facilitate the development of the UK's recycling infrastructure.
We have set a challenging target to achieve 40 per cent recycling
and re-use of construction and demolition wood waste a year and
to significantly increase wood packaging recovery.
WRAP's activities therefore include programmes
(i) stimulate demand for recycled wood products
through a marketing and education initiative. This will target
individuals responsible for making and influencing purchasing
decisions in the construction and local authority sectors, both
of which are potentially large consumers of recycled wood products;
(ii) produce a research and development
programme. To date WRAP has invested £405,000 in four R&D
projects on wood. These include:
an analysis of the volume and nature
of wood waste residues from the furniture industry for the purpose
of identifying and promoting best practice;
developing protocols for sampling
and measuring contaminants in both recovered wood as a raw material
for panel board manufacture and in the final product. Contamination
of mixed wood waste and treated timbers increases the cost of
collection and prevents further use. WRAP is therefore developing
protocols to measure contaminants to address this issue;
developing a distillation process
to enable the recycling of preservative-treated wood waste. WRAP
estimates that a large proportion of this waste is not recycled
and instead is disposed to landfill; and
studying the geographical area of
the M62 corridor to establish the type, volume and sources of
wood available for recycling and investigate existing and potential
wood recycling activity in the area.
WRAP also intends to fund further R&D projects
which will be targeted at specific wood streams and applications.
It will also focus on clear gaps in the wood recycling market
that need to be addressed such as accessing less economic sources
of recyclable material, increasing the reclamation of wood waste
from construction and demolition waste and supporting the development
of new wood waste recycling technologies.
(iii) WRAP has commissioned a Wood Market
Study & Standards Review to assess UK wood flows and markets
for wood recycling and to identify any standards and specifications
which constitute as barriers to wood recycling. WRAP is looking
to publish its findings in the next few months.
Building on these findings WRAP will establish
initiatives to overcome discrimination against recycled wood products
and to support the increasing efficiency of the wood waste collection,
processing and recycling industry. The use of recycled products
is often prohibited because of the lack of any clear defined standard.
WRAP will address this issue by working with the end-users and
producers to identify the main barriers to recycled wood products.
(iv) stimulate investment to increase the
amount of recycled wood used in both the panel board sector and
other wood recycling applications.
One of the major barriers to increasing the
recycling of wood in the UK is the lack of suitable recycling
infrastructure. Therefore, in November 2001 WRAP announced a capital
investment competition to boost wood recycling by expanding reprocessing
capacity. Following the completion of a competitive tender process,
the Board of WRAP authorised negotiations to commence with a small
number of prospective recipients of grant funding. Subject to
the completion of funding agreements, these initiatives will facilitate
significant increases in UK wood recycling capacity in line with
3 Riddough, S (1999). Wood Residues: Waste or resource?
Published by Trada (the Timber Research and Development Agency). Back