THE Wood Recyclers’ Association (WRA) has called for the reopening of household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) as soon as is practical to safeguard the future of the panel board and biomass industries.
According to the organisation, HWRCs provide a quarter of the total waste wood generated in the UK each year, which is used to manufacture panel board and biomass fuel. With many sites closing to guard against the spread of COVID-19, these industries are now under threat.
Andy Hill, Chair of the WRA, said in a letter to DEFRA: “Whilst we fully understand the reasons for the closure of HWRCs, we are concerned it has resulted in unintended consequences – namely that our wood recyclers and reprocessors are unable to source the raw material they require to keep some crucial industries functioning.”
Halting the supply stream of waste wood could present a serious challenge to the UK’s energy supply and compromise the availability of materials for the construction industry as a result, he warned.
Both the panel board and IED Chapter IV Compliant biomass industries – the two main end users for waste wood from HWRCs – fall within the construction and utilities categories named as essential to the UK during the coronavirus crisis.
The government must not only reopen HWRCs as soon as is practical but also ensure that the material is prioritised for collection and recycling to support these two key industries, Andy urged.
“Turning off the supply of waste wood now will have long-lasting damaging implications in many areas,” he concluded.