Veolia reveals extent of waste wood sent to landfill

An estimated nine million tonnes of waste wood are being landfilled each year according to a Circular Economy report published today by waste management giant Veolia.

The landfilling of waste wood has been highlighted in a Veolia report on the Circular Economy
While some waste wood is being recycled, the landfilling of waste wood has been highlighted in a Veolia report on the Circular Economy

The study says that the Circular Economy is the “industrial revolution” for a new generation. And, the company said that “it’s time for businesses to wake up to the reality of the throw-away economy and put more value on resources”.

Veolia singled out waste wood and carrier bags as case studies in its report, explaining that nine million tonnes of wood are disposed of to landfill each year.

“As a country,” notes the report, “we produce a large amount of waste wood. Every year 10 million tonnes of wood is disposed of in the UK with only 1 million tonnes of it being recycled. The rest is sent to landfill.”

The Veolia research, which does not mention RDF, appears to have found a far higher level of wood being sent to landfill than was estimated in a Defra summary of responses to its consultation on wood waste to landfill in 2013.

In 2013 Defra noted: “Segregated wood waste to landfill has been falling since 2009 and is very low. Non segregated wood waste has also been falling but the type and quantity of wood waste in mixed streams remains difficult to determine and identify. Respondents disagreed with our figures, believing that less wood waste was going to landfill than we had identified.”

Defra estimated the waste wood to landfill figure at less than one million tonnes.


The document explains how Veolia is supplying a Dairy Crest biomass energy plant which is providing “new life for old wood” and uses “sustainable sourced pellets made from used or life-expired wood”.

Developing a circular economy will boost UK GDP, says the research. And, it explains using resources in a closed loop system has the potential to contribute £29 billion (1.8%) of GDP and create 175,000 new jobs in the UK.

And, there are advantages for industry if it examines design possibilities, says the report, which was produced by scientists from Imperial College, London.

The study adds: “The opportunity is here for business to benefit from designing products to take into account a second and third life and better supply chain pricing as the quality of secondary recycled materials becomes business critical. By promoting greater resource efficiency we can help manufacturers protect their own supply chains and stimulate a growth in the market for recovered.”

The Circular Revolution report is available on the Veolia website as a PDF.

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