Why recycle wood?
Why recycle wood?
- If allowed to rot in landfill sites it contributes methane to greenhouse gas production. Methane is 23 times more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
- Wood is often in excellent condition, and could make ideal material for reuse, rather than simply being binned.
- Growing, harvesting and processing of virgin timber uses energy and water; natural resources which are not as renewable as timber
- Recycling will eventually save money as the cost of disposing through landfill rises.
Wood waste is a growing problem that should not be ignored. I-Wood's approach tackles this problem from two different angles: one is the use of small-diameter trees that would otherwise be wasted, and the other is the production of wood pellets from manufacturing residue.
Pound for pound, wood pellets only pack about 60 to 70 percent as much energy as coal, but that’s still enough to spin a turbine and generate electricity.
Global wood pellet markets, both the heating and industrial sectors, have had significant growth in the past decade. Growth rates over the most recent four years of data has been about 10 per cent annually; from about 19.5 million metric tonnes in 2012 to about 28 million metric tonnes in 2015. The expectations for the future of wood pellet markets are optimistic. If our forecasts are correct, more than 30 million tonnes per year of new demand by 2025 will drive more than $7 billion of investment in new production capacity worldwide.
There is a staggering amount of waste in producing wood products. For all of the wood that ends up in newspapers or two-by-fours, a huge amount gets left on the ground. Using data from the U.S. Forest Service, researchers at the Energy Biosciences Institute recently estimated that each year loggers leave behind about 47 million metric tons of so-called forest residue—stumps, branches, tree tops and other leftovers—in Eastern forests alone. Of all of that material, roughly 20 to 30 million metric tons would be relatively easy to collect without undue expense. The U.S. Department of Energy has also estimated the available forest waste from the timber industry and wood thinning to prevent catastrophic firestorms to be as much as 100-plus tons.
About 40 percent of milled logs end up as either sawdust, trimmings and other odds and ends, representing another source of potential energy, says Steve Kelley, Ph.D., head of the department of forest biomaterials at North Carolina State University. “When you cut a cylinder into rectangles, you lose a lot of good wood in that process,” he says.