Disposing Wood Waste Safely in Your Construction Site


The earth’s natural resources are limited, and so is the capacity of landfills. For your construction site, this translates into responsible handling and disposal of all kinds of building site waste generated, including wood waste.

Businesses are legally required to manage all types of construction, demolition, and excavation-related waste generated and to follow the waste management hierarchy. This relates to reducing, reusing and recycling building site waste before it is disposed of. Responsible handling of waste helps reduce the negative impact on the environment and make the U.K. in general and London in particular, zero-waste zones.

How much wood is generated and processed in the U.K.?

More than 66 million tonnes of building site waste is generated through construction, excavation and demolition activities, according to government statistics. As per the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, 1.3 million tonnes of wood packaging waste was generated in the U.K. in 2017, out of which 411 thousand tonnes were recycled, achieving a recycling rate of 30.8%.

The good news is that a huge percentage of waste wood generated is being processed and recycled. The WRA represents more than 90% of the waste wood industry, and more waste wood processors are joining with the WRA.

More recently, the WRA (Wood Recyclers’ Association) estimated that 4.5 million tonnes of wood waste was generated in 2018 as against five million tonnes of total wood waste generated in 2018. Out of this, 3.7 million tonnes of waste wood is reprocessed or recycled or reprocessed, and the WRA accounts for 3.2 million tonnes of waste wood processing.

In the last couple of years, according to the WRA, there has been a 10% increase in the amount of packaging waste wood processed into biomass fuel, panel board feedstock and animal bedding. In the U.K., biomass plants are the biggest consumers of waste wood.

Wood waste is categorised based on how ‘clean’ or unadulterated it is. Grade A wood is recycled, and “clean” wood generated from pallets and other secondary manufacturing processes and is suited for making landscaping and garden mulches and animal bedding. Grade B wood can include grade A but is mixed with other demolition and construction waste. This type is suited for making panel board feedstock. Grade C is the fuel grade wood that contains, in addition to what Group A and B have, materials from civic amenity and municipal collection sites. This type of wood is used to make biomass fuel.

Grade D refers to hazardous wood waste that includes treated wood material that requires transportation to special facilities for disposal.

The U.K. government’s Environmental Protection Act mandates businesses to document any waste they produce to ensure their correct disposal. The Hazardous Waste Directive bans mixing of non-dangerous and hazardous waste. A Waste Transfer Note is also required when companies transport any type of hazardous consignments related to wood waste. Businesses also have to ensure building site waste is disposed of in a licensed site and that waste carriers are in possession of valid registration certificates.

Why hire an expert wood waste disposal company?

An irresponsible way to dispose off wood waste on building sites is to load it up on the skip along with other construction site rubbish.

A key challenge in using skip to transport wood waste is that the size and volume of wood waste are variable, consisting of different types of wood waste such as broken pallets, solid wood pieces, laminated plywood, MDF and treated wood cut-offs. Another problem is that the sizes of the skips are limited and typically are between 6 and 40 cubic yards, while most commonly, 8 cubic yard size is used.

These factors make it harder to transport and dispose off wood waste. Expert building site waste removal companies are well-versed in segregating different types of building site wood waste that need to be differently recycled. They sort out all wood waste and transport it to relevant recycling centres in a cost-effective manner, saving you multiple trips on the skip to landfill.

Wood and building site waste clearance specialists make an impactful contribution to the reduction of waste by segregating and transporting such waste to appropriate recycling facilities. This helps avoid huge quantities going to the landfill and ensuring any piece of wood that can be reused from re-entering the community.

A licensed and insured building site clearance company can optimise wood waste management when the volume of waste generated is high at the site and includes different types of inert, mixed and wood materials.

The key benefits of responsible wood waste handling

  • Ensures legal compliance. Controlling and disposing of all types of waste they generate is a legal requirement for businesses as laid out in the Waste Regulations of 2011. This requirement extends to all business entities that import, produce, export, transport, store, dispose off, or treat wood waste.

  • Protects health and safety. Proper wood and other building site waste segregation and handling protect construction workers as well as the public from accidents and other health risks arising from contaminants. Wood materials left lying in inappropriate locations can lead to slips and falls, causing serious injuries.

  • Reduces overall costs. Expert wood and construction site waste management help you optimise cost and increases your return on investment by helping you avoid non-compliance penalties and expenses related to dealing with on-site injuries and accidents.

  • Helps maintain corporate social responsibility. Managing wood waste effectively helps not only reduce consumption of non-recyclable materials but also ensures proper processing of wood materials. This helps your business fulfil its corporate social responsibility of conserving the natural resources of the planet.

  • Enhanced reputation. Businesses develop a favourable image when they demonstrate their commitment to the environment and the steps they are taking to conserve natural resources. This helps improve relationships with your clients and customers, apart from helping your business bag projects that require the meeting of waste management standards.

  • Sustainability awareness: Sustainable waste management at building sites can help create awareness and motivate workers to adopt such practices in their personal lives as well.

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