WRA urges C&D sector to submit waste wood results

Wood Recyclers Association (WRA) has urged construction and demolition companies to “act now” to prevent the risk of “hundreds of thousands” of tonnes of waste wood, which could be recycled, from being lost.

Wood recycling

The association is calling on the companies to test certain ‘amber’ waste wood items from demolition as a matter of urgency, and share their results with the WRA to help determine which items are hazardous or not.

WRA noted that is a legal requirement under RPS 291 for waste producers to test “at least one” of these items per quarter and share the results with the WRA, where they will then receive a WRA Submission report deeming them compliant.

Despite what WRA said is a “huge communications campaign”, the association has not received enough test results to build the evidence base it needs.

‘Time is running out’

Vicki Hughes, technical lead on the WRA Board, said: “Time is running out for companies in the construction and demolition sector to test their waste wood before RPS 291 is withdrawn at the end of September.

“If we don’t receive enough test results before then, every one of these 10 items will have to be tested every time they are identified at great cost to the C&D industry.

“Tests will have to be done on each wood type because it is against the law to consign something as hazardous unless you test to prove it. It will also mean wood will need to be held on sites in separate skips until the results come back, which can take up to 14 days and this includes off household sites if in commercial skips.

“At present, companies only have to test one item per quarter at a cost of around £200. Without RPS 291, companies could be forced to carry out ten tests for every single site or project. So, £200 now or potentially £2000 per site – it should be a no brainer.

“Worse than that, we risk losing hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste wood which could be recycled, to the wrong outlet, which would not only affect the panel board and biomass sectors but also impact directly on the construction sector’s sustainability and environmental targets. This means that many large construction companies could be acting in conflict with their own ESG statements – something the regulators are also now keen on checking.

“To avoid this happening, companies must act now while RPS 291 still applies. Simply submit one sample per quarter and please, please ensure that you give permission for your laboratories to share the results with the WRA.”

For full details on how to comply with RPS 291 and take part in testing, please check out the WRA’s Waste Wood Classification Toolkit.

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