Re-use, recycle, disposal
Preservative pre-treatment extends the service life of wood for many years. At the end of its service life treated wood can be re-used or recycled for approved applications or disposed of in a way that minimises any potential for environmental damage.
The WPA publishes a Guidance Note about the re-use, recycling and recovery of treated wood and, where this is not possible, its disposal. For details of this Guidance Note go to Guidance Note
At the end of its service life, some types of preservative treated wood is classified as hazardous waste. This applies particularly to products such as railway sleepers, utility poles and fencing that has been treated with higher loadings of preservatives such as creosote or the copper chrome arsenic formulations that were used until a few years ago. Using such products as a fuel to generate heat and electricity on an industrial scale is one disposal option that is becoming increasingly attractive.
The energy from waste solution to disposal
One company pioneering this energy from waste approach is Trackwork Ltd. They have invested in a multi-million pound facility at Doncaster to process redundant railway sleepers and utility poles. The plant is Waste Incinerator Directive compliant and licensed by the Environment Agency. All products are assessed for their recycling potential and those that cannot be re-used provide the fuel for a large CHP (combined heat and power) plant that supplies the national grid.
The Trackwork solution provides UK railway, telecommunications, electricity companies, docks and demolition contractors with a cost effective alternative to hazardous waste disposal. The types of treated wood that can be handled includes:
Creosote wood waste
CCA wood waste
Constructional and joinery wood waste
Cooling tower wood waste
Demolition wood waste
Marine timber waste
The Trackwork WID compliant incinerator/CHP plant.