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Hazardous construction & demolition wood RPS to end as stats say ‘less than 1%’ is hazardous

Updated: May 17, 2023

The Wood Recyclers Association has welcomed the Environment Agency’s decision to withdraw the regulatory position statement (RPS) relating to hazardous waste wood from the construction and demolition industry later this year.

pile of carved wood waste for creative waste solutions hazardous wood blog post
pile of carved wood waste for creative waste solutions hazardous wood blog post

The Environment Agency is set to remove regulatory position statement (RPS) 250 on 1st September, meaning producers will need to identify ‘amber’ waste wood items before sending them on to recyclers.

The decision was confirmed at the WRA’s spring meeting by the EA’s senior advisor for site-based regulation Howard Leberman, who the association said had lauded its work on the issue.

Julia Turner, WRA executive director, said: “We are delighted that the work we carried out has provided clarity that the majority of waste wood is non-hazardous.”

So, what is hazardous waste wood?

Hazardous or treated waste wood is defined as any wood that has been preserved, varnished, coated, painted or exposed to chemicals detrimental to the environment.

Less than 1% of C&D wood in the UK is hazardous

The move will mean recyclers avoid the cost and potential stigma of becoming hazardous waste sites due to a small number of items, which the association described as a “huge fear for the market” and could have caused some firms to cease trading.

The WRA has partnered with regulators during the past five years to narrow down the list of hazardous wood as part of its Waste Wood Classification Project. After September, only a small number of items from pre-2007 buildings will automatically be classified as hazardous.

The Wood Recyclers' Association has more than 100 members and we are pleased to announce that Creative Waste Solutions have joined them! The WRA was formed in 2001 by a small group of wood recyclers who wanted to raise standards in the industry and ensure its needs continued to be recognised and met by those in power. The members represent over 90% of UK wood recyclers.

The WRA act on behalf of the members to provide a voice for the sector at the highest levels, working closely with the Environment Agency, DEFRA and other trade associations and recycling bodies to advise on issues affecting our industry, including legislation. The members include wood recyclers and reprocessors, panel board mills, renewable energy suppliers, technology manufacturers, consultancies and specialist insurance and health & safety companies.

“While we still have a number of items to test, end-user testing of C&D material has indicated a hazardous content of less than 1%, representing a tiny proportion (0.08%) of UK total waste wood arisings, at around 4,000 tonnes,”

We are proud to have recently become a member of the WRA and in partnership and cooperation we want to offer support and aid in:

- Influence environmental legislation

- Promote the sector to policymakers

- Assist members to understand changing market conditions and regulation

- Raise industry standards

- Develop wood sector bespoke and flexible solutions

- Provide a forum for the exchange of non-competitive information

- Proactively engage with other trade associations in the UK and Europe

We experience numerous benefits to membership both socially and professionally. The regular meeting forums will provide great networking opportunities and enable us to interact with colleagues within the industry to share learning and build stronger working relationships.

If you would like to know more about the WRA, check out their members and learn more about wood recycling take a look at their website here

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