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Exciting development in the European market for wood waste recycling

Waste wood is one of the main products in Rekom’s operations. We supply waste wood to several treatment plants in Northern Europe, both by truck and by ship.

Published 8. March 2019

Waste wood is usually divided into three different categories; untreated, treated and impregnated wood. The impregnated wood is sorted out as a separate fraction today, as it is classified as hazardous waste and treated by specialized incineration plants. Untreated pure wood, i.e. wood that has only been mechanically treated, can be exported as green-listed waste. This means that there is no requirement for a consent from the authorities to export or import this type of waste. Green-listed waste has low environmental risk and must be recycled. Other examples of green-listed waste are pure fractions of paper, plastic or metal.

According to a report on material recycling of waste wood from 2019 published by Avfall Norge in collaboration with Mepex, Norway produced 792,000 tons of waste wood in 2016 [1]. Traditionally, most of Norway's waste wood has been exported for processing at energy recovery facilities, but the report points to an increasing focus on material recycling of wood waste in Europe. This is a development that can probably be seen in context of the EU Waste Directive's objectives of 50% consumption and material recycling by 2020, increased to 65% by 2035.

Today, the largest potential for material recycling lies in the production of wooden boards, but also in production of cellulose and biofuels, among other things. An ever-expanding market for material recycling could create competition for the incineration plants which use the same fraction in energy recovery.

- “Rekom is closely following the developments in the market for waste wood recycling. There will still be a need for energy recovery in the cold part of Europe in the years to come. There are lobbyists from the power industry who are now looking at whether energy recovery of wood waste in Northern Europe can be approved as material recycling. Our focus will still be on energy recovery, but at the same time we are exploring new and alternative treatment solutions for our customers.”, says Fabian Mæland, key account manager at Rekom.

This autumn Rekom made a video showing how the shredded wood waste is loaded onto ships and prepared for transport. The video is recorded at Vige, Kristiansand Harbor in collaboration with Franzefoss Sør and Norsk Energigjenvinning AS.


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[1] https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/avfall-norge-no/dokumenter/Avfall_Norge_rapport_6-2018_Materialgjenvinning_av_returtrevirke.pdf